6 major US cities with the most affordable rental housing
According to the generally accepted financial rule, you should spend no more than 30% of your income before taxes on housing, whether it is rental or mortgage. The federal government considers anyone who pays more to be “burdened with costs,” and this term fits most residents of large cities, writes Grow
Although in some cities, renting can cost you significantly less.
To find the largest cities in America with the most affordable rents, Grow used RentCafé's recent analysis of average rental prices in the 50 largest cities in the country. Rental expenses were compared with average family income in each city, based on a survey conducted by the Census Bureau in 2018. These numbers are adjusted for inflation for 2019.
The data include single people living in one-room apartments, as well as couples, families living together in large rooms.
On the subject: NYC tenants will no longer pay brokerage fees
Average rents are less than 30% of residents' average income in only six of the 50 largest US cities. This means that an ordinary tenant will be able to spend 30% of his income or less on rental housing every month.
Major cities in which it is most beneficial to rent housing:
- Tulsa, Oklahoma
Median household income for tenants in 2019: $ 36
Average rent in 2019: $ 709 (23,6% of monthly income)
- Wichita, Kansas
Median household income for tenants in 2019: $ 32
Average rent in 2019: $ 665 (24,4% of monthly income)
- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Median household income for tenants in 2019: $ 37
Average rent in 2019: $ 782 (24,8% of monthly income)
- Virginia Beach, VA
Median household income for tenants in 2019: $ 56
Average rent in 2019: $ 1 (221% of monthly income)
- Columbus Ohio
Median household income for tenants in 2019: $ 41
Average rent in 2019: $ 941 (27,4% of monthly income)
- Omaha, Nebraska
Median household income for tenants in 2019: $ 39
Average rent in 2019: $ 934 (28,4% of monthly income)
There are cities where rents are very high. Say the average rent in Miami, Los Angeles and Auckland is more than 60% of the average tenant income. This ratio is over 70% for Manhattan and Brooklyn. In Boston, which tops the list of America’s most expensive cities to rent, the average rent is a whopping 79%.
Due to the “side effect”, rental prices may increase
The cities included in this list are less susceptible to the “side effect” that occurs when it is impossible to rent housing in large cities, and all people go to a neighboring small town, as a result of which the rent also rises.
Auckland and Sacramento are great examples of the “side effect,” says Irina Lupa, research analyst and real estate specialist at RentCafé. Residents of both cities work in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Rental fees in Auckland more than doubled from 2010 to 2019, ahead of all other cities for which data were available.
“Revenues lag behind rents and housing prices mainly in cities that are growing rapidly or have been affected by the so-called side effect,” says Lupa. “If in a big city where the population is growing rapidly, the construction of new houses will not start soon, then rental prices will rise.”
Luxury apartments and "rental to choose from" increase prices
In the last decade, there has been a massive boom in the construction of apartments, most of which were aimed at wealthy people. According to RentCafé, 40% of the 2,4 million recently built apartments are upscale. This coincided with an increase in the number of “rental options”. According to RentCafé, the number of high-income households earning more than $ 150 thousand a year has doubled over the past decade.
These trends have led to higher rents, which now occupy most of the tenant's income. For example, in Phoenix since 2010, rents have increased by 71%, while rental income has increased slightly less than doubled. At the same time, more luxury apartments than non-luxury ones appeared in the Phoenix area.
Lupa notes that in cities with affordable rents, most of the affordable apartments remained in the hands of lower and middle classes.
“It's a supply and demand issue,” she says. “If the apartment market can keep pace with the needs of tenants, we have a much better chance of seeing low-cost housing.”
For a comfortable stay in the city, a low rent is not enough. In addition to low rents, the city should also offer decent earnings.
Virginia Beach is the only city on the Grow list where a typical tenant pays more than $ 1000 per month. This is almost double what tenants in Tulsa spend.
Tenants in Virginia Beach give approximately the same amount of money each month as tenants in Milwaukee. The difference is that in Milwaukee a typical tenant spends 46% of his rental income, which is almost twice as much as a typical Virginia Beach resident.
“If you look at the statistics on housing prices, you will say that Rochester and Buffalo are more affordable for living. The average rent there is pretty low, ”said Sea Weaver, campaign coordinator for affordable housing from a New York lawyer group. - The essence of these cities is that the average income there is also very low. And in many ways, Rochester is just as inaccessible as New York. ”
The data confirm this. Rochester’s average rent of $ 1 is 052% of the tenant’s average income, making it only slightly lower than Queens, where the average rent is $ 49. It eats 2% of the tenant’s average income.
For many years Rochester was a major city for the American art industry, but then it began to decline. Bausch & Lomb left here in 2014. In 2018, Xerox moved its last employees out of the city. There are far fewer Kodak employees in this city than they were before digital photography. Like many other small towns, when the top companies leave, Rochester doesn't have enough money in the budget to help enough homeless people or build affordable housing.
Cities such as Wichita and Omaha have achieved a good balance by offering not only well-paid jobs, but also rents, which workers generally can afford. Koch Industries, America’s second largest privately held company, is located in Wichita, ranked 3rd on our list of top cities where millennials can buy or rent housing. The city of Omaha is also obliged to be included in this ranking of Berkshire Hathaway, the fifth largest company in the world.
It is not always easy to predict what these cities and others like them will be in the long run. Any place highly dependent on one company or industry puts itself at risk if this large employer decides to leave. But while the city can offer good work and an affordable housing market, it will remain comfortable to live in.
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