These Are The Most (And Least) Affordable Cities to Live Alone

Real estate brokerage RentHop calculated the price-to-income ratio of living alone in major American cities.

Even for many working millennials well into their career, temporarily living with roommates or parents can be an investing strategy. The money saved on rent can, when put aside, go a long way towards saving for a down payment and moving into a place of one’s own faster.

One calculation found that those looking to buy a home while living with parents who didn’t charge rent had a down payment saved in five years. Adults living on their own had the same 16-20% down payment saved within eight years. (On the flip side, the same study found that those who lived on their own were actually more disciplined about saving.)

Either way, one’s strategy will depend heavily on rent prices where one lives —disproportionately high rent prices in many urban cities make living with somebody else for those earning below a certain threshold a necessity rather than a strategy.

This Is The City That Overtook Miami In The Rent Price Race To The Top

According to a numbers crunched by real estate brokerage RentHop, NYC is currently the least affordable city in the U.S. to live alone — a median studio will set one back $3,016 or 43.86% of the average monthly household income in the city.

“After placing second last year, NYC experienced a meteoric rise in rent prices in 2022 which led to it overtaking Miami for our top spot,” write the study’s authors. “Median rent for a studio apartment increased 23.1% in the year to a staggering $3,016.”

With a median studio price of $2,070 and 37.15% income-to-price ratio, Miami fell to the second spot as the least affordable place to live alone in the country.

While median rent prices in New Orleans, Raleigh and Boston are significantly lower, the lower income one can expect to earn there also placed them in the top five when it comes to most expensive — at a median $1,750, a studio in Raleigh commands 29.89% of the average household salary for the city.

Albuquerque, New Mexico topped the list when it comes to being affordable for those who do not want to share their living space — a median studio will only set one back $700, or 15.33%, of the city’s average income.

And This Is Where Living Alone Is Practically A Bargain

Wichita, Minneapolis, Seattle and Colorado Springs are affordable not solely for the low prices (in Seattle that number is a not-so-low $1,479) but for their proportionality with local incomes. The percentage of income one would need to put away for living alone is a respective 16.04% in Wichita, 16.42% in Minneapolis, 16.69% in Seattle and 17.16% in Colorado Springs.

But when it comes to real estate, few things stay the same and generally move upwards.

While the median studio still costs only $849, rent prices have been rising fastest in Ohio’s Columbus — between the end of 2021 and 2022, the price rose by 35.84%. California’s Fresno, meanwhile, is one of the few American cities to see a drop last year. The $900 number is a 5.26% decrease from what one could expect to pay last year.

“It’s no surprise that housing became more unaffordable this past year, but the extent is pretty shocking,” write the study’s authors. “[…] While decades-high inflation can be to blame for some of the increase, many cities saw housing prices far outpace inflation numbers.”



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