5 Cities Where You Need a Roommate to Afford to Rent

Conventional wisdom holds that rent should cost less than 30 percent of a renter’s income. But fewer people find that goal achievable.

Conventional wisdom holds that rent should cost less than 30 percent of a renter’s income, but that seems to be the case for fewer and fewer people.

According to the latest annual housing report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, the number of renters ages 25 to 34 who spend more than 30 percent of their incomes on housing increased from 40 percent to 46 percent over the span of a decade (2004-2013).

Those who spend more than half their income on housing increased from 19 percent to 23 percent during that period.

Over roughly the same period, the number of renters ages 25 to 34 carrying student loan debt increased from 30 percent to 41 percent, with debt averaging more than $30,000.

Based on data from Harvard’s housing report, the Make Room campaign created a list of the most expensive cities in which to rent, Yahoo! Finance reports. The top five cities on the list are:

Fresno, California

  • What the typical household can afford in monthly rent: $665
  • What that household spends on rent and utilities: $870

Los Angeles

  • What the typical household can afford in monthly rent: $1,000
  • What that household spends on rent and utilities $1,260

New Haven, Connecticut

  • What the typical household can afford in monthly rent: $750
  • What that household spends on rent and utilities: $1,020

New Orleans

  • What the typical household can afford in monthly rent: $675
  • What that household spends on rent and utilities: $903

Miami

  • What the typical household can afford in monthly rent: $800
  • What that household spends on rent and utilities: $1,100

Chris Herbert, managing director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies, stated when the annual report was released:

“Between the record level of rent burdens and the plunging homeownership rate, there is a pressing need to prioritize the nation’s housing challenges in policy debates over the coming year if the country is to make progress toward the national goal of secure, decent and affordable housing for all.”

What’s your take on the current state of housing affordability, whether you are a renter or homeowner? Share your thoughts below or on Facebook.

Stacy Johnson

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