Last week Billings real estate developer Mike Stock announced his company is going to build a new, 720 unit apartment complex on the West End. If you missed the headline, KTVQ had a story HERE and you can read the Stock Land Properties press release HERE. The lot (seen above) is basically at 44th and Monad Rd, just off Shiloh. It's still an empty field, but when I stopped by today (8/4) it looked like the road is being graded in and the area will surely be filled with heavy equipment soon.

Credit: Ridofranz

Locals on social media debated the affordability of the new apartments.

The press release said the new apartment units will come in 1, 2, or 3 bedroom configurations, and prices will range from $900/mo to $1900/mo. The complex will feature four communities and all will have amenities like swimming pools, hot tubs, gyms, and shared spaces like a clubhouse. Some people were outraged by the cost while other commenters noted that those prices are about on par with everything else currently available for rent in Billings.

Credit: Ridofranz

Can Billings renters afford $900 - $1900 a month for housing?

The standard for calculating how much you can afford for rent has long-been 30% of your gross income, with financial pros warning that spending more than that is risky and leaves little money for other obligations. Rent Cafe.com offers this slick rent calculator.

I'll save you the math and run the quick 30% figures for you...

  • To afford a $900 a month apartment you need to make almost $18 per hour, full time, 40 hour weeks.
  • To afford a $1200 a month apartment you need to make about $24 per hour.
  • To afford a $1900 a month apartment you need to make just over $36 per hour.

Obviously, this is if you are paying rent solo.  Dual-household earners could afford that  three-bed, $1900 a month apartment if they both earn about $18 an hour. I'm afraid the days of finding nice apartments in Billings for $750 a month are long gone. It's unfortunate that many local wages haven't come close to keeping up with rising housing costs.

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