Reasonable Rents in 10 Cities

November 7, 2018
House interior
Photo: Unsplash/Sabri Tuzcu

Almost 10 million renter households spent 50 percent or more of their income on rent payments in 2017, per Census data. A new study identifies 10 cities with affordable rents offering renters more breathing room. 

Three of the top 10 cities in SmartAsset's ranking are in the Commonwealth of Virginia: Chesapeake, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach. But Durham, N.C. took the cake as the best city where the gains for full-time workers outstripped rent price appreciation. Durham's median full-time employee's income grew 18 percent from 2016 to 2017, gaining $7,600 in average salary in that time to $50,000 total. Meanwhile, median rents increased less than 7 percent to $1,014.

With unemployment rates near record lows and earnings starting to rise, some renters are actually finding themselves with more of an opportunity to sock away money. We compare median earnings for full-time employees to average rents to see where rents are becoming more affordable for these workers. To find where rents are becoming more affordable for full-time workers, we looked at data on median income for full-time workers in 2016 and 2017 and compared it to median rent in 2016 and 2017. We then compared the percent change in the two figures. 

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