Where Can the Average American Afford a Studio Apartment?

How much do studio apartment rents cost across the U.S.?

A new Joybird report revealed average studio rental prices in 50 major metro areas to discover the annual income required to comfortably cover rents in the popular cities analyzed.

Key Findings:

  • In New York, residents would need to make an annual income of $142,000 to comfortably afford a studio apartment—more than double the median non-family household income in the city.
  • Memphis, TN, has the lowest annual take-home salary needed to afford rent at $26,000 for their $650 average studio apartment rent prices.
  • In Seattle, the disparity between the required salary to comfortably afford rent and the median non-family household income is the smallest among the cities analyzed. The yearly income necessary to cover rent is $39,632 less than the city’s median non-family earnings.

Top Five Cities with the Highest Average Rents for Studio Apartments:

  1. New York, NY — $3,550 per month
  2. Boston — $2,590 per month
  3. San Jose, CA — $2,328 per month
  4. San Francisco — $2,150 per month
  5. Miami — $2,089 per month

The average rent for a studio apartment in New York stands at $3,550, demanding a monthly income of $11,833 for comfortable affordability.

In Boston, the second-ranked city for studio rents, the cost hits $2,590 per month, requiring a minimum income of $8,333 a month to make it work.

Top 5 Cities with the Lowest Average Rents for Studio Apartments:

  1. Memphis, TN — $650 per month
  2. St. Louis — $850 per month
  3. Oklahoma City — $895 per month
  4. Louisville, KY — $899 per month
  5. San Antonio — $908 per month

Southern cities like Memphis offer some of the most affordable studio rents, with prices as low as $650. Residents would need a monthly income of $2,167 to afford rent here comfortably. In St. Louis, a monthly income of $2,833 is required to cover rent expenses ($850).

Four of the top ten cities with the lowest studio apartment rents are below $900 per month.

As rent prices continue to climb, many Americans find themselves allocating more of their income to rent than ever before. This growing trend led us to investigate which cities exhibit the most significant gaps between average studio rent prices and the median income of non-family households.

While studios are typically viewed as the more budget-friendly rental option, our findings reveal that affording even the most basic studio apartment can be a challenge for many.

The top 10 cities with the largest income disparities between the income needed to afford rent and the median annual income of non-family households:

  1. New York: -$85,261 income difference
  2. Miami: -$38,817 income difference
  3. San Diego: -$36,441 income difference
  4. Boston: -$36,103 income difference
  5. Riverside, CA: -$27,886 income difference
  6. San Francisco: -$18,480 income difference
  7. Orlando, FL: -$15,297 income difference
  8. Tampa, FL: -$13,843 income difference
  9. Los Angeles: -$12,939 income difference
  10. Providence, RI: -$12,842 income difference

To read the full report, including more data, charts, and methodology, click here.

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Demetria C. Lester

Demetria C. Lester is a reporter for MortgagePoint (formerly DS News and MReport) with more than eight years of writing and editing experience. She has served as content coordinator and copy editor for the Los Angeles Daily News and the Orange County Register, in addition to 11 other Southern California publications. A former editor-in-chief at Northlake College and staff writer at her alma mater, the University of Texas at Arlington, she has covered events such as the Byron Nelson and Pac-12 Conferences, progressing into her freelance work with the Dallas Wings and D Magazine. Currently located in Dallas, Texas, Lester is a jazz aficionado, Harry Potter fanatic, and likes to read. She can be reached at demetria.lester@thefivestar.com.
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