With some rents soaring above $1,500, who can afford the luxury apartments popping up across Sheboygan County?

AnnMarie Hilton
Sheboygan Press

SHEBOYGAN - With luxury apartments sprouting up in various corners of the county, one question remains: Who can afford to live in them? 

Someone making minimum wage simply could not afford to pay over $1,000 a month in rent. Corporate executives, on the other hand, could pay that or even double.

But what about the people in between? What about the meat handler at Old Wisconsin Sausage or the entry-level production operator at CertainTeed in Plymouth? 

Dane Checolinski from the Sheboygan County Economic Development Corporation said rental units are important for people moving to the county who want to test-drive a new job or the area before deciding to purchase a home.

An online search for open manufacturing jobs in Sheboygan County shows that hourly pay for such positions is typically between $16 to $19 an hour.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development sets a standard that housing is affordable when it costs less than 30% of a household's gross income. Paying more than that for housing can be burdensome and make it difficult to afford other necessities like food, transportation and medical care, its website says.

Here's a breakdown of what someone working a manufacturing or office job in Sheboygan County can afford to pay in rent according to HUD's 30% standard:

Entry-level production operator at CertainTeed

This job located in Plymouth is third shift with a starting wage of $16 per hour plus shift premiums. (Shift premiums were not factored into income.) The hours are Monday to Thursday from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. CertainTeed wants workers with a high school diploma or equivalent.

Using this online paycheck calculator, making $16 an hour working 40 hours a week equals a take-home pay of $2,040 a month. According to Zillow's Rent Affordability Calculator, with that gross income and adhering to HUD's guide, a person could afford $765 a month in rent.

That income would allow a person to share a two-bedroom apartment in The Encore apartments. Built in 2017, those two-bedrooms units range in price from $1,205 to $1,435, according to Apartments.com.

While they could also afford to split a unit in High Pointe, other developments like Luxe on Kohler Memorial Drive and 7Penn in downtown Sheboygan are largely out of reach.

Meat handler at Old Wisconsin Sausage

This job located in Sheboygan is first shift with a pay range of $16.75 to $18.70 per hour. Preferred qualifications include education generally equivalent to a high school diploma and a few months of manufacturing, high-speed packaging or food manufacturing experience, according to the job posting.

Someone earning the low end of that pay range at $16.75 per hour will have a monthly take-home pay of $2,128 and can afford to pay $798 a month in rent.

That income is unable to afford a one- or two-bedroom unit in Luxe, but can support a two-bedroom in 7Penn, if the rent is divided evenly among two people. High Pointe's two-bedrooms range in cost from $1,350 to $2,550, so if split evenly among two, a person earning $16.75 an hour could afford to live in a two-bedroom that costs $1,596 or less. 

At the high-end of that range, the employee earning $18 per hour takes home $2,274 per month. They can afford $852 per month in rent, but they still couldn't afford a one-bedroom in High Pointe or Luxe that ranges in cost from $1,200 to $1,430.

Production operator at Land O' Lakes

This job located in Kiel is primarily second and third shifts and advertises a pay of $21 per hour. Requirements for the job include six months of work experience in any industry and basic computer skills.

That wage will bring home $2,630 per month and can afford $986 a month for rent. With that rent capability, a person could afford to split the cost of a $1,900 per month, two-bedroom apartment at Kingsbury Village which is set to open early summer 2020 on the corner of Tenth Street and Wisconsin Avenue in Sheboygan. 

Someone earning that could also afford to live alone in downtown Sheboygan's High Pointe either in a studio or in most one-bedrooms. One-bedrooms in that building range from $925 to $1,625 per month. 

Commercial lines underwriter at Acuity

This job, located in Sheboygan, brings in about $59,000 a year based on reports aggregated by Glassdoor. Qualifications include a bachelor's degree and a grade-point average at or above 3.0.

That would bring home $3,671 per month, with $1,376 available to spend on rent. An income of that level would allow a person to rent a one-bedroom apartment in Luxe, 7Penn, High Pointe and even Portscape on South Pier Drive.

Rent prices in downtown Sheboygan as of November 2019.

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Reach AnnMarie Hilton at ahilton@gannett.com. Follow her on Twitter at @hilton_annmarie.