Top 10 Most Expensive Rental Markets in America

Young renters

Source: iStock

Realtors have more excuses than ever when trying to sell you a home this buying season. Houses keep appreciating in value, interest rates are still near historic lows, and inventory remains tight — so you better act fast! However, one of the biggest incentives to buy a home comes from the rental market.

Rent prices are soaring across the country, causing people to take a second look at mortgage payments. A new report from RealtyTrac finds that the monthly house payment on a median-priced home is more affordable than the monthly fair market rent on a three-bedroom property in 76% of 461 counties nationwide, with a combined population of 217 million. Each county contains a population of at least 100,000 and sufficient home price, income, and rental data.

On average, fair market rents represented 28% of the estimated median household income, while monthly house payments, including a 10% down payment, property taxes, home insurance, and mortgage insurance, represented 24% of the estimated median income.

“From a pure affordability standpoint, renters who have saved enough to make a 10% down payment are better off buying in the majority of markets across the country,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “But factors other than affordability are keeping many renters from becoming buyers, a reality that means real estate investors buying residential properties as rentals still have the opportunity to make strong returns in many markets. Also, keep in mind that in some markets buying may be more affordable than renting, but that doesn’t mean buying is truly affordable by traditional standards.”

Let’s take a look at the 10 least affordable rental markets in America, based on the percentage of median income need to rent a three-bedroom property.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

10. Tampa—St.Petersburg—Clearwater, Fla.

  • County: Hernando
  • Fair market rent: $1,280
  • Percentage of median income needed to rent: 42%

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

9. St. Louis, Mo.

  • County: St. Louis City
  • Fair market rent: $1,063
  • Percentage of median income needed to rent: 42%

David McNew/Getty Images

David McNew/Getty Images

8. Los Angeles—Long Beach—Santa Ana, Calif.

  • County: Los Angeles
  • Fair market rent: $1,926
  • Percentage of median income needed to rent: 42%

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

7. Miami—Fort Lauderdale—Pompano Beach, Fla.

  • County: Broward
  • Fair market rent: $1,801
  • Percentage of median income needed to rent: 43%

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

6. San Francisco—Oakland—Fremont, Calif.

  • County: San Francisco
  • Fair market rent: $2,801
  • Percentage of median income needed to rent: 44%

Miami beach

Source: iStock

5. Miami—Fort Lauderdale—Pompano Beach, Fla.

  • County: Miami-Dade
  • Fair market rent: $1,594
  • Percentage of median income needed to rent: 45%

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

4. New York—Northern New Jersey—Long Island, N.Y.

  • County: Kings
  • Fair market rent: $1,904
  • Percentage of median income needed to rent: 48%

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

3. Philadelphia—Camden—Wilmington, Pa.

  • County: Philadelphia
  • Fair market rent: $1,440
  • Percentage of median income needed to rent: 48%

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

2. Baltimore—Towson, Md.

  • County: Baltimore City
  • Fair market rent: $1,574
  • Percentage of median income needed to rent: 49%

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

1. New York—Northern New Jersey—Long island, N.Y.

  • County: Bronx
  • Fair market rent: $1,904
  • Percentage of median income needed to rent: 69%

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