Personal Finance

Priciest Cities to Rent

Cities Where It’s Priciest to Rent

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Many factors can make a housing rental market difficult to negotiate, such as tight supply and fierce competition for the most desirable properties. But chief among potentially problematic rental factors is the cost. To get an indication of how stretched renters are in each market, the data team at looked at the rent-to-income ratios in 40 major U.S. cities. The resulting list is particularly heavy with representatives from one state. And while it might not be the argument-ender on where it is
Floto & Warner | The Image Bank | Getty Images

Many factors can make a housing rental market difficult to negotiate, such as tight supply and fierce competition for the most desirable properties. But chief among potentially problematic rental factors is the cost. To get an indication of how stretched renters are in each market, the data team at John Burns Real Estate Consulting looked at the rent-to-income ratios in 40 major U.S. cities.

The resulting list is particularly heavy with representatives from one state. And while it might not be the argument-ender on where it's the most difficult to find a rental, it can speak to the costliness of these 10 markets. 

“This list has the underpinnings of why they are the strongest rental markets in the country,” says Peter Dennehy, Burns Consulting vice president. It’s a combination of reasonably high household income and job growth (meaning cities less-affected by recession or ones growing again), and barriers to home ownership (i.e. cost), as well as a long-term trend toward density.

“We’re expecting continued rent growth, and as landlords push rents higher, we expect to see some movement of current renters into homeownership,” says Wayne Yamano, director of research at Burns. “Move-outs to own are still at historically low levels, but some REITs (real estate investment trusts) are starting to see an uptick.”

Click ahead to see the countdown to the city with the highest rent-to-income ratio. The figures are for metropolitan areas.

By Colleen Kane
Posted on 17 February 2012

10. Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif. 

San Bernardino suburb
David McNew | Getty Images

Rent to Income Ratio: 25%

Population:  4,287,600                

Median Household Income: $53,365

9. San Jose, Calif.

San-Jose-California-Priciest-Cities-to-Rent-CNBC.jpg
Rent to Income Ratio: 25%Population: 1,854,300 Median Household Income: $85,677
Nancy Nehring | Photodisc | Getty Images

Rent to Income Ratio: 25%

Population: 1,854,300

Median Household Income: $85,677

8. Orange County, Calif.

Orange-County-Calfornia-Priciest-Cities-to-Rent-CNBC.jpg
Rent to Income Ratio: 26%Population: 3,050,400 Median Household Income: $71,884
Don Romero | Photolibrary | Getty Images

Rent to Income Ratio: 26%

Population: 3,050,400

Median Household Income: $71,884

7. San Diego

San Diego
David Olsen | Getty Images

Rent to Income Ratio: 28%

Population: 3,138,200

Median Household Income: $60,606

6. Boston

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Rent to Income Ratio: 28%Population: 4,576,700 Median Household Income: $76,731
John Coletti | Getty Images

Rent to Income Ratio: 28%

Population: 4,576,700

Median Household Income: $76,731

5. Detroit

Detroit-Michigan-Priciest-Cities-to-Rent-CNBC.jpg
Rent to Income Ratio: 28%Population: 1,806,100 Median Household Income: $36,127
Ed Schipul | Flickr

Rent to Income Ratio: 28%

Population: 1,806,100

Median Household Income: $36,127

4. Miami

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Rent to Income Ratio: 29%Population: 2,514,200 Median Household Income: $45,219
Maremagnum | Getty Images

Rent to Income Ratio: 29%

Population: 2,514,200

Median Household Income: $45,219

3. San Francisco

San-Francisco-California-Priciest-Cities-to-Rent-CNBC.jpg
Rent to Income Ratio: 33%Population: 1,789,900 Median Household Income: $79,076
Jumper | Getty Images

Rent to Income Ratio: 33%

Population: 1,789,900

Median Household Income: $79,076

2. Los Angeles

CGIBackgrounds | Getty Images

Rent to Income Ratio: 36%

Population:  9,932,100                

Median Household Income: $55,579

1. New York

New-York-City-Priciest-Cities-to-Rent-CNBC.jpg
Rent to Income Ratio: 52%Population: 11,611,400               Median Household Income: $60,161
Brian Kennedy | Workstock Book | Getty Images

Rent to Income Ratio: 52%

Population: 11,611,400              

Median Household Income: $60,161