These Are the 10 U.S. Metros Where Rent Is Least Affordable

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  • For many Americans, housing expenses are their most costly monthly bill.
  • Renting in a U.S. metro with expensive housing costs could make reaching your personal finance goals more challenging.
  • Moody's Analytics found that rent-to-income ratios in metros like San Francisco, Boston, Miami, Los Angeles, and New York make these areas the least affordable places to live in the U.S. as a renter.

Rental prices continue to rise nationwide -- but some metros are quickly becoming incredibly unaffordable.

There are many incredible areas in the United States, but unfortunately, housing costs continue to rise nationwide. In many metropolitan areas, increasing rental prices mean it's no longer affordable to be a renter. For many Americans, high rental costs further delay their dreams of homeownership, as they cannot save aggressively to buy a home.

Moody's Analytics recently published its 2022 4th Quarter Housing Affordability Update, which examined recent rental costs nationwide. The organization found that the national average rent-to-income ratio reached 30% for the first time in more than 20 years. Based on the findings, the 10 U.S. metro areas below are where rent is the least affordable, from least to most costly.

10. Orlando, Florida

Rent-to-income ratio: 29.7%

With so many people moving to the Orlando metro, rent is no longer affordable for most. But if you like warm weather and want to visit Mickey Mouse often, this could be a fun place to live. While renters spend significant money on housing costs, they benefit from fewer tax responsibilities. That's because Florida residents don't pay individual state income taxes.

9. San Francisco, California

Rent-to-income ratio: 29.8%

Next up on the list is San Francisco. Renting isn't cheap. It's also worth noting that the cost of living is high overall in this metro, so in addition to high housing costs, other living expenses cost more. But if you like mild weather and the cool coastal breeze, this is the place for you.

8. Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida

Rent-to-income ratio: 29.8%

Another Florida metro with high rental costs is Tampa-St. Petersburg. Many residents like living here because they spend much of their free time in the water. Boating, fishing, and kayaking are popular activities. If you don't mind paying more to be near the water, renting here may be worth it. But if you're looking for cheap rentals, they're hard to come by.

7. Boston, Massachusetts

Rent-to-income ratio: 32.9%

The next metro on the list is Boston. Residents like living here because the area is full of history, and much of the city is walkable. But rent is not cheap. One factor that has led to a rise in rental costs here is the limited number of available homes. Because of the lack of homes, residents are forced to pay more. You may want to live here if you don't mind cold winters and can afford the living costs.

6. Northern New Jersey

Rent-to-income ratio: 33.3%

Have you been considering making a move to northern New Jersey? If so, you should expect to pay a lot for rent. Many workers choose to live here and commute to New York City to save on housing and everyday living expenses -- but it's still not a cheap place to live. However, living in this metro is a good choice if you want to be in close proximity to other cities.

5. Palm Beach, Florida

Rent-to-income ratio: 33.6%

If you plan to move to the Palm Beach metro, you should expect to pay more for rent. But with over 40 miles of coastline, this metro is paradise if you like to spend a lot of time soaking up the sun at the beach. Palm Beach is also known for its many impressive golf courses. If you're not into golf, you can keep busy boating, parasailing, or relaxing at the beach with a book in hand.

4. Los Angeles, California

Rent-to-income ratio: 35.6%

Another costly place to live and rent is the Los Angeles metro. Here, residents enjoy the beautiful year-round weather, impressive beach and mountain views, and plentiful dining and entertainment options. But to enjoy these benefits, you'll pay high living costs, including expensive state income taxes.

3. Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Rent-to-income ratio: 36.7%

Another metro on the list is Fort Lauderdale. This city is known as the "Venice of America" because of its extensive canal system. You'll find many beaches, shops, and restaurants in this part of Florida. But you should know that no matter how much income you bring in, high rental costs will negatively impact your checking account balance if you live here.

2. Miami, Florida

Rent-to-income ratio: 41.6%

The second-most rent-burdened metro is Miami. Many financial experts suggest spending 30% or less of your income on rent, so you would be spending much more than recommended to rent here. But if you can afford the expensive rent, you'll appreciate the gorgeous beaches, incredible food scene, and impressive nightlife and entertainment options found here.

1. New York, New York

Rent-to-income ratio: 68.5%

Likely no surprise to most, New York City is the least affordable metro for U.S. renters. Living in and around the Big Apple comes with many fantastic perks -- walkability, plentiful transit, delicious global eats, and world-class entertainment -- but those amenities come at a high price. If you move here, expect to spend much of your income on housing and living expenses.

Consider how your finances will change before moving

If you're feeling unsatisfied in your current town or city and are ready for a change, you may be exploring new places to live. But don't settle down somewhere new without first considering how your cost of living will change. You may need to pay more to live the life you want.

Housing is the most costly monthly expense for most Americans. You want to ensure you can afford rent or mortgage costs in your new area. Before packing your bags, we suggest doing the following to prepare for the financial impacts of a move.

  • Calculate your income and current living expenses: Before considering a move, make sure you know how much income you're currently earning and how much you're spending on current living expenses. These calculations can help determine how much you can spend on everyday living costs in your new home.
  • Compare housing and living costs in other areas: Next, you'll want to research living costs where you're considering moving, such as average utility bills. Redfin recently partnered with WattBuy to display estimated energy costs on eligible home listings. While this service is currently only available for homes for sale (not rentals), it may help you gauge utility costs in a new-to-you part of the country.
  • Set a budget and stick to it: Following a budget can help you avoid falling into debt. As you look at new places to live, set a realistic budget and don't stray from it. Budgeting apps can be helpful if you need assistance managing your budget.
  • Consider ways to earn more or save more: If you're moving somewhere with high housing costs, figure out if there are ways for you to earn more or save more. If you can qualify for a raise and continue to work remotely or get a new higher-paying job, that could boost your income. If you want to save on rental costs, you may want to consider living with a roommate or renting a smaller apartment to reduce your housing expenses.

Look for affordable areas to rent to stay on budget

The good news is there are parts of the country where housing costs are still reasonable. Check out our list of the 10 most affordable cities with high salaries and low costs of living for inspiration. As you research places to move to, don't forget to compare housing costs so you can honor your budget and avoid financial difficulties. By finding a metro with affordable rental costs or home prices, you can better stick to your personal finance goals.

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