Median rents for a studio along the South Coast went up from $1,495 a month as of last April to $1,553 a month as of this April. Going back five years, the price was $1,150. For five years prior to that, it was $1,020. These numbers were compiled by housing specialists with the City of Santa Barbara who culled housing ads to determine contemporary rental levels. For one-bedroom apartments, rents went from $1,750 to $2,253; for two bedrooms, they jumped from $2,550 to $2,701. For three- and four-unit rentals, however, the city survey found rents actually went down slightly.
Federal guidelines indicate that households should spend no more than one-third of income on housing. With this in mind, the City Hall survey concluded it would take an income of $62,125 to “afford” a studio, $90,125 for a one-bedroom, and $108,050 for a two-bedroom unit. The median income for people living in Santa Barbara is $51,720. A full-time worker earning minimum wage makes $22,880 per year.