Economy Watch: The Least Expensive Apartment Markets

When comparing rent to income, the Southeast and Southwest regions of the U.S. tend to house the most affordable U.S. apartment markets, according to a new CBRE Research report.

By D.C. Stribling, Contributing Editor

Downtown Raleigh, N.C.

Downtown Raleigh, N.C.

The nation’s most affordable major metro area, at least when it comes to rent as compared to income, is Raleigh, NC. That’s the conclusion of a new report by CBRE Research. The rent-to-income ratio in Raleigh is 18.77 percent.

At the other end of the spectrum—unsurprisingly—is greater New York, where the rent-to-income ratio is 51.33 percent, according to CBRE. The report compares 26 metro apartment markets, which all together have an average rent-to-income of 28.99 percent.

The more affordable U.S. apartment markets by this metric tend to be in the Southeast and Southwest, with Albuquerque and Phoenix below 20 percent and Houston just above it. The Texas cities of Austin and Dallas also have generally low rents compared to incomes.

California tends to be on the expensive side when it comes to this metric, with Orange County, the Inland Empire, San Jose, Oakland, San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles all higher than the average of the 26 markets. Among Southeastern markets, only Miami is particularly expensive, where the rent-to-income ratio is 43.9 percent.

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