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These Are The Most (And Least) Affordable US Cities For Renters On An Average Salary

These Are The Most (And Least) Affordable US Cities For Renters On An Average Salary

In 2023, 34% of the 131 million households in the U.S. lived in rented homes.

But which U.S. cities are the most affordable to rent in? The question isn’t just about cost, but about the average salary in each city, and some cities in expensive-seeming states turn out to be relatively affordable.

To answer the question, Visual Capitalist’s Pallavi Rao introduces the graphic below.

CashNetUSA found rental price data (as of August 2023) from Zillow.com and compared it to city salary data to calculate the percentage of properties available to rent for 30% or less of the local average income.

Ranked: Most Affordable American Cities for Renters

Ranked first, nearly 97% of the available rentals in Hartford can be rented for an affordable rate, based on average income.

This might be a surprising statistic. Connecticut was the richest U.S. state (by per capita income) for nearly three decades till 2019, and has one of the highest costs of living in the U.S.

However, it’s important to note that this data deals with averages instead of medians. For example, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage for a Hartford resident—across all occupations—is slightly more than $33/hour, or close to $70,000 a year. Its median wage is almost $8/hour lower, which comes in at $53,000 a year.

Richer residents, with higher incomes might be skewing the apparent affordability of available rentals.

Note: Data current as of August, 2023.

Toledo and Akron, ranked second and third, have similar rates of affordability, with 95% of their available rentals falling within 30% of the city’s average wage. In fact Ohio has the most number of cities in the top 20, with Waterbury ranked 17th.

Detroit and Rockford round out the top five most affordable cities in the U.S. for renters. Both cities have affordable housing markets, after the Great Recession caused the local economies to tank, in turn causing an increase in crime and decline in population. Post-pandemic, however, both cities are on the rebound with an influx of industries, jobs, and people.

But which U.S. cities are the least affordable to rent in?

With runaway housing prices and local salaries struggling to keep up, some of America’s largest metros feel quite unaffordable.

To answer the question more concretely, CashNetUSA found rental price data (as of August 2023) from Zillow.com and compared it to city salary data to calculate the percentage of properties available to rent for 30% or less of the local average income.

It turns out that plenty of places are shockingly unaffordable for renters. In Miami, Cambridge, and Boston, fewer than 10% of the rental listings are affordable on a the average salary.

For context, Miami’s annual mean salary is close to $59,000, and the Boston-Cambridge area comes in at $80,000 a year. These places are also expensive for homeowners, with both Boston and Miami being in the 10 most expensive cities in the U.S. to buy a home in.

Joining Boston and Miami in the most unaffordable cities is Chula Vista in California, where exactly one in 10 the rental listings could be classified as affordable. That’s fewer than New York’s results (11.63%).

California has four of the top 20 most unaffordable cities for renters, and ranks fifth in the list of states by income inequality.

Tyler Durden
Wed, 02/07/2024 – 18:15