School Of Hard Knocks: Single Teachers Can’t Afford To Live Close To Work


It is being estimated that the average teacher can afford 12% of homes for sale within commuting distance of their school and just 27% of available rentals in the same area.

These numbers come from a Redfin analysis which looked at 2022 median teacher salaries in the 50 most populous U.S. metro areas. Commuting distance was defined as 20 minutes or less during rush hour and affordability was defined as no more than 30% of the metro’s median teacher income. For house sales, a 10% down payment was assumed.

In 2019, before the pandemic boom drove up prices, the average teacher could afford 30% of homes for sale within commuting distance of their school. A lack of inventory and stagnating salaries are being blamed for the recent changes.

The Redfin analysis highlights extreme affordability challenges in California and Florida.

Teachers making a median salary can afford less than 1% of the homes for sale within commuting distance of their schools in San Jose and San Diego, California.

In San Francisco, the median teacher salary is $98,789, but the median home sale price is $1.5 million.

Florida’s teachers cannot find rentals easily. In Miami, the typical teacher can afford 2% of available rentals within commuting distance of their school, according to the analysis. Teachers can afford 4% of rentals in Fort Lauderdale, 4% in Orlando, and 6% in West Palm Beach.

Florida ranked 48th in the nation for teacher pay in 2021-22, with an average salary of $51,230. The national average was $66,745, according to data used for the analysis.

As the school year begins, some districts are facing teacher shortages.

In Florida, where housing prices have gone up in recent years, there are nearly 7,000 teaching vacancies statewide.

As of Aug. 7, there were 6,920 advertised vacancies for teachers compared to 6,006 at this time last year, according to leaders at the Florida Education Association. Many students in Florida went back to school on Aug. 10.

Redfin Senior Economist Sheharyar Bokhari said in a statement that the shortage of affordable homes is exacerbating the shortage of teachers.

“Many teachers who can’t afford to buy a house near work are either renting and missing out on the opportunity to build wealth through home equity, or leaving education in search of more lucrative careers,” Bokhari said.

Many public school employees who leave the profession resign as opposed to being laid off or retiring. Mass shootings, a lack of respect, and stagnation in wages were cited as reasons by CNN’s Annette Choi.

According to leaders at the National Education Association, when adjusted for inflation teachers are making $3,644 less than they did a decade ago. They have a breakdown of educator pay by state published online.

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