How much money you need for rent in the 15 most expensive U.S. cities

According to a new analysis, you’ll need to earn at least twice as much as most Americans if you want to rent an average-priced apartment in America’s most expensive cities.

In just under half of the 50 most populous cities in the United States, the cost of housing is unaffordable for most renters, according to a study by Apartment Guide, a rental search site. This finding is based on the idea that rental costs should only make up 30% of a household’s budget, which is a general rule of thumb recommended by personal finance experts.

The following rankings are the most expensive cities based on the salary you would need to keep rental costs at 30% of your overall income:

With rent prices soaring since last year, affordable rents in already expensive cities like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco have become even more inaccessible.

New York City leads the way: tenants would need to earn $254,040 in rent to make up just 30% of their budget. That’s nearly four times the annual median household income, which is $64,994 according to the most recent US Census Bureau data.

And of the 10 most expensive cities, eight would need double the annual median income to keep rents at 30%.

Large coastal cities dominate the top of the rankings, while smaller towns in the center of the country tend to have lower rents. The lowest-ranked city is Wichita, Kansas, where residents need only $28,741 to make rental costs 30% of their total budget.

However, it should be noted that residents of large, expensive cities tend to make more money than cities in states where incomes and housing costs tend to be lower, on average.

Rental data for ranking is based on Apartment Guide’s inventory of rental properties for one and two bedroom units from July 2021 through July 2022. Rental prices are an amalgamated average based on the number of units available.

Because this is an average metric across two unit types, rental prices will likely be higher than most people pay, due to a small number of high-income renters paying well above the median price.

The top 50 cities by population are based on current US Census Bureau population estimates.

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