The most and least expensive places in the US for renters

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Some of these are really surprising to me. Lincoln, Nebraska; Plano, Texas; South Dakota?! My curiosity has been piqued.


My son recently re-uped his contract with a company in Arizona, he pays $399.00 all utilities included for a fairly nice newer apartment [1 bed 1 bath] in Phoenix. I say it’s close to 750 - 800 square feet, and the amenities are not spartan either. Walking distance to most things he likes to do as well. But the summers are f’ing hell…


The driver here is probably high demand from oil field jobs and what not v. low housing inventory.


Lincoln is the capital and I think has a college… not sure if there’s a boom or something going no there.

Plano is home of a plastic company (think tackle boxes and tool boxes), and I think JC Penney. I know the latter keeps trying to recruit software engineers there (guess where I DON’T want to live). Maybe an oil boom area?


Strange to not see NYC on here. Also nothing in the Washington, DC metro, although it looks like the state index dropped DC entirely. I’m fine with that since it’s not comparable to a state, but did they also remove from the city index?

Also strange to see only SF here, and nothing else in the Bay Area.


Fuck, I forget how many people in Portland are doing well for themselves.

If my rent was only 20% of my income, I’d be living like a god.


I’m a homeowner in Portland. My house value has doubled in the last several years, my property taxes have increased, fortunately my income has increased, but I can’t sell my house to get the added value out of it without having to spend the same amount (or more) on a new house or having to move out of town and endure a longer commute. This would only help if I were retiring anytime soon.


“Data is self-reported by loan applicants”

Do we think this probably means mortgage applicants, and probably not, for example, payday loan applicants? The self-selection involved in this dataset makes me suspicious that folks who (for example) pay very high percentages of their monthly take-home on rent and are as a result either not eligible for a mortgage or cannot save up for a down payment are perhaps not represented in this data set at all.


There’s a reason why the only songs about Toledo are about leaving Toledo.


I’d like to see these figures further broken down by wage brackets. If you’re not making six figures, then how much of a percentage are we talking about here?


It will be interesting to see changes in the cost of renting once the mortgage interest deduction is eliminated. Less incentives to buy and harder to sell, owning homes will look unattractive to many.

As a Virginia resident I find myself scratching my head on the high Va. Beach prices. It isn’t Waikiki Beach.


I suppose if you looked at only this study, you might conclude that.

My partner and I moved here five years ago, in part to escape the extremely high cost of living in Boston. Initially, our rent + utilities was roughly 1/2 what we paid back east- we thought, “oh hey, we won’t have to grind so damn hard anymore!” And for the first two years, that was pretty much the case. Over the last three years, though, our rent has shot up $300/mo (~37% hike) and you better believe our income did not keep pace. Were it not for my partner getting a nice promotion, we’d be out on the streets right now. Our story is not unique (and we’ve been pretty lucky,) either. While rent has climbed across the board, almost all of the new rental supply added in the last three years have been for upper-income folks moving to the city, and the lower-income folks who’ve been priced out of their formerly rent-stable apartments find themselves either moving much farther from the core neighborhoods, or out on the streets.

So yeah, some people are doing good. Many who were homeowners prior to the current boom (which does seem to have levelled off a little bit atm) are doing great (but not all, in part because our property tax is structured to be immensely favorable for well-to-do folks in fancy-pants 'hoods like Laurelhurst.)

But a lot of us are struggling. A lot of us are living in cars and RV’s. Even with my partner’s promotion, we’re only one bad break from losing our place and joining those folks.


That Plano is there is absolutely NOT surprising to anyone living in the Dallas Metroplex.


I know people from Plano, but I’ve never been there. What differentiates the renting situation there from other parts of the Dallas-Fort Worth area?

If nothing else, Plano is HQ to a large # of corporations for some reason. The Highland Park/University Park cities inside of Dallas would be more expensive to live in, but then you are going to have to have a very large income to live there anyways. Those two can build toll roads to keep out undesirables.

I’ve often wondered this about Plano myself. Over the past few years I’ve seen interesting jobs posted there but, as soon as I mention the location to my wife she’s all “Oh Hellz NO!” Looking at Google Maps it’s just a crossroad in the middle of nowhere. I guess cheap land and tax incentives are the draw for businesses.

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Yet another reason why conservative Boomers who say that “lazy” Millenials can make great lives for themselves by heading out to the Dakotas don’t have any idea what they’re talking about.

Maybe it’s all safety-deposit box condos and co-ops for oligarchs and plutocrats now.

Seriously, I’m not sure of the current percentage, but when I lived in Manhattan the rule of thumb was that your salary needed to be 40x your rent (or about 30%). That’s probably offset somewhat by lower rents in the Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island.

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Not quite - that’s in Plano, Illinois. At my first summer job, I noticed that Plano Molding Co. was one of our suppliers for plastic housings.

I’m kind of surprised not to see Chicago in the top 20 for most expensive, though.

Leaving aside the selection issue - that some housing markets have gotten so hot that average middle-class incomes are priced out entirely, these numbers really don’t seem right. In fact, I know that California is really off. They claim LA is the most expensive, with $2600, but the average rent on a one-bedroom apartment in SF is at least a thousand dollars more. Even if the difference is down to what people actually pay individually (i.e. in SF you have at least three people crammed into one-bedroom apartments), it still doesn’t add up. I was just reading about how about half the population in the (cheaper) SF South Bay Area are “rent burdened” - that is, spending more than 30% of their income on housing. There’s some sort of heavy selection bias in how they’re coming up with these numbers, they seem to be based on the specific circumstances of the small group of people they do business with, rather than the numbers being based on what’s true for the general population.

They say that “Earnest is a data-driven lender financial services company based in San Francisco offering student loan refinancing, personal loans, and home loan refinancing” - so, home loans aside, this is probably the source of the data. But their numbers don’t tally with anything else I’ve read, so I’m going to say that there’s some serious selection bias going on here - presumably it’s the nature of the people to whom they give loans. It’s not that their numbers are too high, but far too low, for urban California renters at least, so their California borrowers must have relatively high incomes, especially in the Bay Area.

Yeah, considering how many stories I’ve read about people who work in the boom towns who can’t even afford to rent there (living in their cars) and still have high living costs, and even the failure of some of those companies to pay their workers entirely because the boom caused a natural gas glut that drove down prices… Just looking at incomes (of the people who get paid) doesn’t tell us much about quality of life.