Chart of the Day: Which Cities Have the Least Affordable Housing?

Hint: It's not New York

San Francisco residents have the hardest time affording a two-bedroom apartment, followed by Washingtonians and New Yorkers. This according to a new report from the Urban Institute, which compared rental prices and average incomes in a handful of cities across the country. Here's a chart of the results:

Author Margery Turner suggests that the best urban areas (like Oklahoma City) managed to avoid the "excesses of the boom years" while maintaining a relatively robust economy. D.C., not so much. As Turner writes:

If you live in the DC metro, you need to earn about $60,000 to afford the rent for a typical (modest) two-bedroom apartment. Average earnings just barely exceed that threshold. If you’re a computer professional, you probably earn much more (over $90,000 on average), but if you’re a personal service worker, you may only earn half of what you need to afford that apartment. Disparities are equally stark in San Francisco, but the unemployment rate there is almost 10 percent, compared to only 6 percent in the Washington region.

See the whole post here.

About the Author

  • Amanda Erickson is a former senior associate editor at CityLab.