Big cities offer big salaries — though at a cost. The rental market in those cities can be punishing, especially in the summer, when prices peak. In July, the national average hit an all-time record high of $1,409, according to the apartment search website RENTCafe. But in some of America's priciest neighborhoods, $1,400 would be a bargain.
There's a considerable range: The most expensive neighborhood in Alaska falls below the national average, while some ZIP codes in California, Massachusetts and New York are expensive enough that you would struggle to afford a place on anything less than a six-figure salary.
The No. 1 most expensive ZIP code overall, 10282, is in Manhattan's Battery Park City, located along the Hudson River. The average rent is $5,657, though that's down 1.8 percent from the previous year.
All of the top 50 most expensive ZIP codes are in New York, California and Massachusetts. More than half, or 26 of the top 50, are in Manhattan, including the second most expensive ZIP code in the country: 10013, which extends from TriBeCa to SoHo. The average rent there is $5,226, up 10.6 percent from last year.
Only two of the top 10 are not in Manhattan. A neighborhood close to the University of California, Los Angeles, ranks third, with an average rent of $4,883. And a ZIP code in San Francisco, 94105, ranks sixth, with average rent of $4,666.
"While some Manhattan ZIPs will command four times the national average rent without much in the way of indecision, there are plenty of urban areas where you can easily find a decent apartment for less than half, or even a third, of it," RENTCafe reports. The average rent in Nashville, Tennessee, for instance, is only $1,974.
For those looking to move to a city with highly affordable rent, RENTCafe notes that Wichita, Kansas, Memphis, Tennessee, and Decatur, Alabama, all have average rents under $600.
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