This Is the Home Minimum Wage Buys in Philadelphia

And the home an increased wage could buy.

Estately has a gallery of homes a person making minimum wage ($7.25) can afford in various cities. Those homes are compared to those a person making $15 per hour can afford — and the difference is so depressing, it’s enough to make even the most diehard conservative move to Canada.

In Philadelphia, here’s what the difference looks like:

For those making $7.25 per hour:
minimum-wage-house-1


This house is in Southwest Philly, around 69th and Buist. Listing says: "house's boarded for security reason. But otherwise, it's a good starter house." And the price is right: $50,000. Unfortunately, this house is unlikely to be an investment that appreciates.

For those making $15 per hour:

minimum-wage-house-2
This house is in Point Breeze, near 24th and Wharton. Listing says: "Seller assist available!! Great starter home in south Philly close to center city." The price is also right: $104,500. Fortunately for those who make more than minimum wage, this house is in a neighborhood where real estate is most likely to appreciate.

This Is What Kind of Home Minimum Wage Buys You In American Cities [Estately]

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • RonnyK737

    Ugh… I’m so tired of this liberal bullshit from you guys. Raise the minimum wage and watch unemployment skyrocket, and watch hard working teenagers and young adults trying to gain experience be shit out of luck. No one is meant to work fast food or stock Walmart shelves for a career, but they are great places to gain experience and move on.

    • pete

      You two already hit succinctly. Why is the argument that it is wal mart or mcd’s fault what you earn this life? And now the argument devolves to a point whereby if the company doesn’t pay enough then taxpayers will through welfare. So that really means that someone owes these uneducated, unskilled folks a pile of something. Apparently it is either us, or the companies.

      It is time for the argument to shift to the workers that you need to learn a skill or otherwise educate yourself to earn more. The current argumet is wrong.

      • Rain Francica

        Where is your response the comment regarding the fact that USA has been hemorrhaging jobs overseas for decades now? I middle easterners are literally invited to come to the US study and work. While our own US born citizens – some who are college graduates are taking lesser paying jobs because the corporations have moved their jobs overseas where they get cheaper labor AND hefty tax breaks….More over I have worked with non English speaking persons while a family member who has an engineering degree still hunts for a decent paying job.
        I say raise the damn minimum wage. When 1 gallon of milk is almost $5.00 and you make $7.00 an hour it’s time t raise the minimum wage. Higher wages + affordable health care = 1 way out of poverty.

        • pete

          How about raise the skill and the wage will follow.

        • Marty

          Rain, I did not make the comment about shipping jobs overseas but I’ll respond. I’m sure you’re trying to blame that on George Bush. But the fact of the matter is, Bill Clinton is a huge blame for that trend. He sent many manufacturing jobs overseas. Which crushed an industry that used to thrive in this country. He also is responsible for a lot laws that lead to the current mortgage crisis. Once Bill opened that flood gate, it makes it hard for companies to compete if their competitors have lower costs for employee wages. The company would now be stuck between a rock and a hard place so to speak. If they keep the jobs here, the cost has to be made up somewhere. Either they put it on the customers and raise their prices for their product or service which could lead to lower sales and the need for further budget cuts. In the alternative, they could lay some people off to create a higher unemployment rate, or simply do what their competition does and send the jobs overseas. I don’t like it anymore than you do. But thats the reality of it and Clinton is largely to blame. Full disclosure: Reagan can also take some blame, I’m sure. But once that door is open, it’s hard to close without a law.

          • ralph

            I love how people believe Presidents should receive credit for an entire era’s success or failure. Presidents do not draft bills. They sign them. If you blame Clinton, then the Republican Congress should also receive it too. Same goes for Reagan and the Democratic Congress.

    • Berda

      There Is No Move On!Your goddamn Party including your sweetheart Robme Sent All The Decent Jobs To India and China!Where Are The Jobs??!!You Are Full Of absolute crap!the minimum wage is the Same As it was in 1980!How Much is bread?How Much is Milk?Have They Gone Up?What ?They Haven’t?My Bad!Gas Cars Houses TVs IPods IPads Christmas Trees.I moved out of my parents house at 20,later than most!They Don’t Leave Now!The People that work in those places Can’t Afford to Live!We no, You are subsidizing your beloved republicans friends by your Taxes Going to these people who are paid the Minimum legally allowed!and McDonalds laughs all the way to the bank with Your Money.wake up.

      • Marty

        geez, didn’t realize iPads were a necessity. What world are you living in? How many jobs has “your” party created? How’s the unemployment rate doing under “your” party’s president? Better question, how is the welfare rate under said president? Skyrocketing, no? You all want something for nothing. The demands these fast food workers are making are ridiculous. And it won’t change a thing. You know what will happen when the burger flipper is making 40k a year? The entry level skilled position making 35k will demand 45-50k. Demand for houses will go up, driving prices, making that $50,000 house pictured above into a $75,000 house. Which will land us in the same boat. Then what, give the burger flippers $25/hr? Give me a break. People like you, Berda, are exactly why this country is quickly becoming a laughing stock. The weak are being rewarded. Those on welfare feel like they are the smart ones because they can get paid to do nothing, while those people with a spine who refuse to accept welfare are working double to make something of themselves (and forcibly something of those on welfare). The reason McDonalds can “laugh all the way to the bank” is because its founder had a vision and basically created an industry. What have you done today? WAKE UP!

        • spijim

          Pretty much none of that is true in the real world. I moved to Australia last year. The minimum wage for anyone over the age of 20 is $18.50/hr. If you’re a casual employee (meaning you’re part-time and don’t get paid vacation or retirement fund contributions) it’s $20/hr. In reality hardly anyone gets paid less than $22/hr and anyone working the same job for a few years is making more than that. Are things more expensive? Sure, a little but 2 liters of milk (1/2 gallon) is still $2. A loaf of bread is $2.50. But people with full-time jobs don’t need food stamps or WIC, don’t have to send their kids to horrible schools, don’t have to worry about going broke if they get sick, or live in a place that remotely resembles Southwest Philly (or Point Breeze for that matter).

      • allahhhhhhh

        Judging by your writing style, I think minimum wage fits you nicely.

  • GBT NO BS

    Ronny you are so right Working at Mc Ds or Walmart stocking shelves is a stepping stone toward entering the work force as a teen or through college. Those jobs were NEVER meant to support a family.
    People you make choices in life and then you need to deal with the consequences of your choices. Dont graduate HS or just barely skid by and we should reward you with more money than your average entry level position pays a college graduate???? I dont think so.
    More liberal bs designed to reward mediocrity and laziness in the younger generation.

  • Teresa Rothaar

    Oh HELL NO. You can get a house in Detroit for less than a grand. $50k would buy you a mansion there.

  • allahhhhhhh

    Correction, the first house is graduating high school, the second house is college.

  • Liz Spikol

    It’s true, I don’t generally bring politics into discussions of real estate and design. But I made the distinction between minimum wage and a living wage because a person making minimum wage makes just over $15,000 per year. I really can’t call that a living wage for anyone I know. I’m curious: Do any of the commenters here feel they could live on that? Particularly if you have children, as so many employees who make minimum wage do? I don’t think we’re talking about buying iPads, right?

    • Marty

      Liz, as you can probably tell from my posts above, I agree there is a great distinction between a minimum wage and a living wage. But what I believe is that minimum wage jobs were never meant to be a job to live off of. As many have mentioned, they were made for kids or full time students. Unfortunately many people are only qualified for these minimum wage jobs. But, in my opinion, if you are over the age of 18 with kids and are only qualified for these minimum wage jobs, that’s your own fault. I did not grow up rich. I lived in a humble, blue collar family. But I wanted to better myself. I graduated high school with good enough grades and was able to go to a prestigious university. I am now in law school. Yes, I had to take out some student loans. But I was willing to bet on myself. I was willing to bet on my future. Those are options for people. But they refuse, they do not even want to graduate high school. Eventually reality hits them and they expect help from everyone but themselves. I have to commend those working minimum wage jobs for working. I would much rather see them working then collecting welfare or some other government funded program. I may sound coldhearted but that is the reality of it. No situation is too dire to make it impossible for you to educate yourself. Especially a high school diploma. College isn’t for everyone but there are trade schools. Trades are again on the rise and you can make a very good living from them.

      • Marty

        *than

      • DTurner

        Interesting analysis. I would say one problem with the current minimum wage system, however, is that these workers are working these jobs AND collecting government money to subsidize their living. As one of the previous commenters mentioned, we as a society need to make a choice between having the companies pay to subsidize these workers (something that would dramatically reduce jobs) or continue to subsidize them with tax dollars (less bad idea). I think a nice middle way would be to levy a tax against employers who pay their employees the minimum wage (or within a few dollars of the MW), not enough to cover the full cost, but enough to at least reduce the burden on taxpayers.

        I fully agree with your educational argument; I wish that we could move away from the old stereotypes of community colleges and tech schools and move to a healthier, more holistic model of education, like what you see in Germany. Have more non-college options would help ensure that people are going for a degree that they want, not just something to waste some time and money. We also need to have a greater buy-in from the private sector. These programs need corporate sponsors and co-op programs, but firms have been moving away from education and the government has done little to move them back.

      • Liz Spikol

        Marty, I’m glad that you were able to succeed with good grades and acceptance to a good university. But not all of us are so lucky. It’s not a question of “fault” or desire or will or options or refusal. I personally had to drop out of school due to illness. I have many friends who had to leave school due to financial obstacles. They had all the will in the world, as did I, but life surprises us. I wonder what surprises it has in store for you that will defer some of your own goals no matter your will and determination. There are situations that are too dire to be surmounted, and I am glad for you that you have never encountered any thus far — but again, you are very lucky.

        Broad-based statements like, “you can make a very good living from [trades]” aren’t helpful to the current reality. Do you know how hard it is for a woman to be accepted to a trade school and then hired in a trade? Do you know that trade schools cost money that people may not have? There was an excellent report about this on NPR this morning — the question of women in trades. And just take a look at Philadelphia and the obstacles faced by minority contractors.

        Our fates are determined by a complex network of factors: economic, social, cultural, familial, physical, etc. I do think it’s coldhearted to assume that simply because you succeeded, everyone else should be able to as well. It’s the old bootstraps argument. I’ve never understood that — in any context. The bootstraps approach strikes me as judgmental and superior — and a bit defensive. I think people who make that argument operate on fear of falling behind again, which is why it’s more comfortable to be superior. It’s an insecurity in status, perhaps deriving from a person’s place of origin.

        But why judge? Dear lord, life is hard, isn’t it? We are all equipped with different tools. Not better, not worse. I might have a hammer. You have a wrench.

        And let’s put the question of blame aside. The fact remains that in 2013 there are people who are living on minimum wage and can’t make it. The only thing that matters: Here’s what IS. Now what do we do?

        • Just Browsing

          Here, here Liz!!

  • Adam Knecht

    1) I seem to have missed the part of the US Constitution where it says “Setting the minimum wage” is the responsibility of anyone elected official or entity….
    2) The market will dictate how much a company can charge for it’s products, which is directly related to how much it can pay the people who work for them to produce said product.
    3) Jobs would still be here if unionized labor hadn’t pushed the companies/factories over seas….

    • DTurner

      Yes and no for number 3; while unionized labor’s intransigence is partly to blame, it’s hard to compete with cheap labor that costs less than a dollar. The only way you can compete is by moving into more specialized manufacturing, something that U.S. manufacturing was slow to do.

      • Adam Knecht

        I doubt very seriously the companies would’ve even looked overseas for labor if it were affordable here. It wouldn’t make sense to consider moving factories OCONUS until faced with the problem of rising labor cost vs market price on their products vs profit margins…..

        • DTurner

          But you need to account for external competitors as well. Competition from overseas firms with cheaper labor pools has been one of the main drivers of off-shoring. Again, not saying that none of the blame falls on the unions, just that a lot of the off-shoring was inevitable given U.S. manufacturing’s prior niche of cheap goods, something that could be replicated with cheaper labor in developing economies. Companies would have had to pay their American workers pennies on the dollar in order to compete effectively.

        • spijim

          Ha! Tell that to the Mexicans who watched their jobs move to Honduras or the Chinese who are watching their factories move to Vietnam. There’s always someone more poor and destitute than you who is will to work for less than you. It’s just comes down to whether or not you want to race to the bottom or the top.

    • spijim

      Labor has its own market. When there’s a labor shortage wages rise. When there’s a labor surplus wages fall. Retail prices rise and fall accordingly. If there’s no market for a product when wages are high then it’s a bad business model. In a country that welcomes any poor and semi-literate person legally or otherwise as if we were still in the midst of the industrial revolution and in desperate need of low-skill labor it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that wages are dreadful. In an economy that offshored almost all manufacturing and where a marketable, post-secondary education costs in the tens of thousands – and that’s just to have a chance at competing for crumbs – the “get your skills up” argument is a joke.

  • thegreengrass

    It’s hilarious to read the ire of the cliche types of people who read Philadelphia magazine as the publication tries to publish something more related to the lives of actual Philadelphians. I imagine everyone here would be so much happier if the magazine went back to ranking the best private suburban high schools for their little darlings.

    • Sarah

      Well said! As the city with the 5th highest poverty rate in the US, these issues need to be discussed more openly, not shutdown and mocked.

      Also, while that second home looks a lot nicer and more structurally sound, let’s not forget that Point Breeze is still one of the 15 most dangerous neighborhoods in Philadelphia as judged by rates of low quality of life and high crime.

  • Allison

    So I’m not Dem or Rebub, I’m Canadian. But it just seems odd to me that anyone would assume they should be able to own property on minumum wage. There are certain things that citizens should be entitled to: Food, clean water, health care, and yes, shelter. But that doesn’t inlcude OWNING a home. And if you were to own a home on minumum wage, yeah, you should expect it to be a crap heap, no?

    Minumum wage here in Alberta (a province in Canada) is $10.50/hr, and in Calgary (city in Alberta where I live), houses don’t go for under $200,000. My husband and I combined make $160,000/ year and we’re still renting, because that’s life.

    • Liz Spikol

      Now THAT, Allison, is a good point. I think we all started getting into a larger conversation about minimum wage itself rather than the question of home ownership on such an income.

      I’m a renter myself. Given things like windows leaking and basements flooding and boilers exploding and all the rest, I’ll take renting over owning anytime.

  • The Silent Majority

    We should definitely get the minimum wage earners into houses. You know, because they can afford a mortgage and homeowner’s insurance. How did we get into the current economic state? Oh that’s right. Through SUB-PRIME MORTGAGES to people that can’t afford them. Thank you redlining and Acorn. Pass high school and then you can start worrying about a mortgage.

    • The Silent Majority

      Also. If you lowered to minimum wage you may stop seeing so many of those jobs flood to China and India.. What follows is less unemployment and more people actually working a wage. The something-for-nothing attitude is what will destroy this country.

  • Bill Craig

    Its not 15 dollars an hour…with workmans comp ins, employer SSecurity match,, Liability ins..etc its over 25 per hour..Good jobs to India…Look at the many morons moonwalking around the Gallery after school..most look unemployable..Phila schools produce non competitive sad sacks of human existance in too many cases. 95 percent of the apple is rotten. The ring master is of course Dem. Nutter and his Temp 8 percent to perm. sales tax. Add lousey white rubber roofs on new construction that send sane companies to smart Bucks County and proposed nonsense soda taxes any sane educated person can see a clear picture. Complain about jobs leaving while dingbat liberals try to defy the Law of Physics