Scroll to Top

Salaries Needed to Afford Rent in Neighborhoods Across US

Posted on Feb 13 2019 - 8:53am by Lance Edwards
Nestpick data reveals the gap in affordability and equality for specific neighborhoods within popular U.S. cities.


By Symone Garvett ( Article —  The cost of an apartment varies not only from city to city, but also from one street corner to the next, says apartment search engine Nestpick. To give single and family renters a better idea of how rents can differ, the website analyzed current cost per square foot and how much an individual must earn in order to afford rent in popular neighborhoods across the U.S. and the globe.

In their Neighborhood Price Index, Nestpick’s real estate experts compiled a list of 50 cities around the world that are attracting an influx of workers. For the U.S., cities such as San Francisco, New York City, Boston, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., were analyzed. Experts then determined the median cost per square foot, monthly salary required, and the percentage of disposable income required to pay rent.

“As companies and cities battle to attract a highly skilled workforce, the reality of disposable income and cost of living has become more important than mere salary alone,” said Ömer Kücükdere, managing director of Nestpick, in a release. “A by-product of this data has been that we’ve confirmed the gap of inequality that exists within certain cities. In some cases, an individual working on minimum wage might need to work over 500 hours just to afford one month’s rent in a particular neighborhood.”

San Francisco’s Financial District South holds the highest cost per square foot in the U.S., at $6.96 for a single-person apartment and $5.67 for a family apartment. The calculated salary needed to afford a single would be $12,501 a month, or $150,012 annually. A family would need $21,356 a month, or $256,272 annually. The percentage of disposable income needed to live in Financial District South is 59.7%.

Comparatively, in San Francisco’s Visitacion Valley/Sunnydale neighborhood, the cheapest of the 26 San Francisco areas listed in the index, the cost per square foot decreases to $4.09 for a single and $3.32 for a family, while the salaries needed are $7,334 and $12,501. The disposable income percentage decreases more than 20 percentage points, to 35.02%.

On the other end of the index, Miami’s Shenandoah neighborhood holds the lowest cost per square foot in the U.S., at $1.86 for a single person and $1.55 for a family. The monthly salary required for a single is $3,333; for a family, $5,833. Only 17.14% of disposable income is needed to live in the neighborhood, according to the index.

Miami’s highest cost per square foot listed is in the North-East Coconut Grove neighborhood. For a single, the median cost per square foot is $2.79, with $5,000 needed in monthly salary, while the median square footage cost per family is $3.25, with a minimum $12,251 monthly salary. The percentage of disposable income needed is 25.7%.

Check out the highs and lows for the Bay Area, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington, D.C., below, and see all the U.S. and global data here.