Raleigh, Charlotte among top 10 most affordable metros for renters, study says

That's due in part to rising incomes, which are growing at a faster pace than rents in many major metro areas.

In 2016, more than half of Philly renters paid too much of their income on rent.

Census data show that almost half of all USA renters are "cost burdened", or spending 30 percent or more of their income on rent.

"Despite being the most expensive metro in California, San Francisco (#71) actually has the lowest share of cost-burdened renters, due to the high number of well-paid high-income renters, and the fact that numerous lower-income renters have already been pushed out of the metro", said Sydney Bennet, the study's author. Despite this, almost half of all US renters - 49.7 percent nationwide - still pay too much income in rent, the study reports. Meanwhile, the salaries of existing renters have remained pretty stagnant. As a result, 51.5 percent of Denver-area renters now spend 30 percent or more of their income on rent. Renters' wages, though, increased by a mere by 0.3 percent. It depends where you fall on the income bracket, says study author Sydney Bennett.

The Apartment List study found that the share of cost-burdened renters actually dropped in 2016 to its lowest level since 2008. "Unfortunately, it appears that this trend is driven by an increase in the share of high-income renters and decrease in the share of low-income renters, rather than income growth for existing renters". Furthermore, from 2005-2015, post-rent wages for service workers fell by 5.7 percent, and post-rent wages for blue-collar workers fell another 4.3 percent. But bigger cities in the South, along with communities in the Rust Belt and Midwest, are more affordable for renters.

So where are renters the worst off?

Apartment List, an online rental marketplace, used census data on rents and incomes to determine which metropolitan areas were the most affordable for renters in 2016.

A study last month found that buying a home is a smarter move than renting in the Bradenton-Sarasota-North Port area, taking only 2.3 years to break even with the cost of buying a home.

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