Numbers from a new national study show the challenges of being able to afford housing in Alaska.
According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the average wage for Alaskans who rent doesn't quite add up to the cost of renting a standard two bedroom apartment.
The annual study says the average rent for a two bedroom apartment in the Alaska is about $1,111 per month and Alaskans would need to earn an average of $21.37 an hour to afford it.
Megan Bolton, NLIHC's Research Director, says Alaska is consistently in the top ten for most expensive states to live in, which impacts how much residents need to earn to rent a home.
This year, Alaska was number nine.
"Nationally, the housing wage is $18.70, so it is higher in Alaska than it is at the national level," Bolton said.
Bolton says the coalition also found some not so optimistic news for wages in Alaska when comparing it to the cost of living.
"A renter is earning around $16.26, that's about $5 below the housing wage," Bolton said.
Economists in Alaska say there are plenty of jobs in the state that offer pay above the housing wage.
State Dept. Labor Economist Neal Fried says, "We all know that technology occupations, professional occupations, legal occupations, most of those we're looking at something where the average is above $21 an hour."
Fried says other jobs could be more challenging for people wanting to rent.
"You look at retail and most that are identified are below that," Fried said. "You look at the food preparation restaurant area and that's also true."
The Alaska Housing Finance Corporation says the battle of buying a house could be even tougher.
The AHFC's Director of Planning and Programs, Mark Romick says if a potential buyer in Anchorage who makes less than $21 an hour wanted to purchase a $300,000 house the biggest challenge would be saving for a 20 percent down payment of $60,000.
"There's no way anyone who makes $21 an hour could afford to buy an average home in Anchorage," Romick said.
But whether Alaskans choose to rent or buy in Alaska, economists say it's one of the biggest decisions you'll have to make.
"That's where we spend our single biggest chunk of money, I think it's on average 40% of our consumption dollar goes to housing," Fried said.