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Want an apartment under $1K a month? They're hard to come by, report says

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Finding a lower-priced apartment in the Twin Cities is getting harder and harder, a new report says.

According to the Minnesota Housing Partnership's latest 2x4 report (released Tuesday), the number of apartments with a rent of $1,000 or less was small – there was just a 2 percent vacancy rate during the year's first quarter.

Now, there are some factors at play. The 2x4 report only looks at market-rate units (so not affordable or subsidized housing) in buildings that have 10 or more units, Research and Communications Director Leigh Rosenberg told BringeMeTheNews in an email. So things such as single-family homes or duplexes aren't counted.

Within those parameters, the survey covered 126,380 units – of those, 56 percent (70,330) were renting for $1,000 or less.

The Housing Partnership says to afford a $1,000-a-month apartment, a family would need to earn $40,000 to avoid using up 30 percent or more of their income on housing.

The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development considers anyone using up that much of their income on housing "cost burdened," and says they may have difficulty affording necessities such as food, clothing, transportation and medical care."

For all units, regardless of price, the vacancy rate was 2.7 percent. The average rent? $1,018 a month.

While the Housing Partnership only looked at Twin Cities data, it says other reports concerning greater Minnesota show similar low-vacancy rates with multi-family (a property with more than one living unit in it) construction on the rise.

The 2x4 report is released twice a year. Last December's iteration found the improved economy was making it harder for low-income residents to get a home.

It also looks at other "key" areas of the housing market: the owners’ market, homelessness, and the housing industry. Here's what it found in each.

4,344 evictions

The number of evictions is the lowest it's been in a decade. Across the state, there have been 4,344 evictions during the first quarter of 2015 – a 9 percent drop from that time in 2014.

8,085 homeless children

The report asked four school districts – Duluth, Minneapolis, Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan, and St. Paul – for their tally of students identified as homeless. The total for 2014-15 was 8,085. That's down from last year's high of 8,333, but still more than any of the five years prior.

316 families at homeless shelters

Through the first five months of 2015, an average of 316 families per month used a homeless shelter in Hennepin County. That's down 6 percent from last year's peak average of 337.

5 percent rise in median home prices

In Brainerd/Baxter and St. Cloud, the median home sale price through the first half of 2015 rose 5 percent, to right around $150,000 each (with Brainerd/Baxter just a touch higher). In the Twin Cities it has gone up 9 percent.

7,000 units getting a new building permit

Housing construction in the state is up. Through May of 2015, 7,000 units were issued permits across Minnesota, the highest total since 2006. Of those 7,000, 39 percent were multi-family units – a record.

3.4 months' supply of homes

If home sales continue at their same pace, it would take just 3.4 months for the Twin Cities to sell out of the currently available homes. The housing market is considered "balanced" if the number is between five and six months. In St. Cloud the supply is 6.1 months; in Brainerd/Baxter it's 9.4 months.

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