Rent Prices Have Outpaced Income Growth in 46 of the 50 Most-Populous U.S. Metros Since 2009

If rent grew at the same rate as inflation since 1985, the median U.S. rent would be 19% lower — $939 a month instead of $1,163.

ST. LOUIS, June 20, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Rent prices have surged by 208% since 1985 from $378 a month to $1,163, outpacing inflation by 40% and income by 7%, according to new research from Real Estate Witch, an online publication that connects readers with expert real estate advice, owned by Clever Real Estate.

Rent price growth has exceeded income growth by more than 50% since 2009 in seven U.S. metros:

  1. Denver, Colorado (71%)
  2. Las Vegas, Nevada (57%)
  3. Charlotte, North Carolina (56%)
  4. Seattle, Washington (55%)
  5. Atlanta, Georgia (53%)
  6. Portland, Oregon (51%)
  7. Nashville, Tennessee (51%)

Since 2009, only four major U.S. cities — Providence, Buffalo, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh — have seen income growth surpass rent increases, resulting in a decline in the rent-to-income ratio. Rent price growth exceeded income growth by the smallest margin in Milwaukee (5.2%).

The most affordable cities for renters based on the current rent-to-income ratio are:

  1. Cincinnati, Ohio (15.5%)
  2. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (16.2%)
  3. St. Louis, Missouri (16.4%)
  4. Minneapolis, Minnesota (16.6%)
  5. Buffalo, New York (16.8%)
  6. Milwaukee, Wisconsin (17.1%)
  7. Providence, Rhode Island (17.2%)
  8. Cleveland, Ohio (17.2%)
  9. Kansas City, Missouri (17.4%)
  10. Louisville, Kentucky (17.5%)

Miami is the least affordable city for renters based on the rent-to-income ratio. Miami residents spend $1,492 a month on rent — 28% more than the national median — while earning $62,870 — 9% less than the national median income, resulting in a rent-to-income ratio of 28.5%.

Meanwhile, in the past 12 years, Denver experienced the largest increase in rent-to-income ratio (23%), while Providence had the largest decrease (4.4%).

The national median rent-to-income ratio is 20%, but the ratio exceeds this in 21 of the 50 most populous U.S. cities.

In addition, from 2009 to 2021, rent prices increased by a whopping 60% or more in seven U.S. cities:

  1. San Jose, California (85%)
  2. Denver, Colorado (82%)
  3. Seattle, Washington (81%)
  4. Portland, Oregon (72%)
  5. San Francisco, California (71%)
  6. Nashville, Tennessee (62%)
  7. Austin, Texas (60%)

Although inflation may be slowing, the inflation rate is still 7x higher than it was in 2020, and apartment shortages are contributing to rent prices remaining high in many U.S. cities. As a result, Americans nearly everywhere are struggling to afford skyrocketing rent.

Read the full report at:

About Real Estate Witch

Real Estate Witch is a web property of Clever Real Estate, an online platform that connects home buyers and sellers with top-rated agents at a discounted rate.

Please contact Jaime Seale at
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Jaime Seale
PR Writer and Strategist
Clever Real Estate

SOURCE Real Estate Witch