Most and Least Affordable U.S. Metro Cities


Desirée Patno is the CEO and President of Women in the Housing and Real Estate Ecosystem (NAWRB) and Desirée Patno Enterprises, Inc. (DPE). With almost three decades specializing in the Housing and Real Estate Ecosystem, she leads her executive team’s expertise of championing women’s economic growth and independence.

A new study by GOBankingRates looks at the most and least affordable U.S. metro cities to live in by evaluating government and industry data. To determine this list, researchers looked at how much money one would need to cover basic necessities, such as housing, health care, groceries, utilities and transportation.

Cost-of-living was determined using the “50-30-20 rule,” meaning that 50 percent of your budget would be used for these necessities, with 30 percent going to discretionary spending and 20 percent set aside for savings. This means that living a comfortable lifestyle would require you to have an income that is double the amount you need for basic necessities.

The least affordable metro areas are

  • San Jose, CA
  • Boston, MA
  • Oakland, CA
  • Long Beach, CA
  • Honolulu, HI
  • Denver, CO
  • New York, NY
  • Miami, FL
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Los Angeles, CA

According to the report, the most costliest city for homeowners is San Francisco, where the median household income is $96,265 annually, which is $19,000 less than the $115,000 that homeowners need for basic living expenses. To live in this city, a household would need an income of roughly $230,000. However, renters have it easier since they need $82,000 for basic necessities, which is $14,000 below the median income.

The most affordable metro areas include

  • Virginia Beach, VA
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Omaha, NE
  • Fort Worth, TX
  • Oklahoma City, OK
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Colorado Springs, CO
  • Arlington, VA
  • Columbus, OH

The most affordable metro city to live in is Virginia Beach, where the median income is $70,500 and basic living expenses usually cost around $43,700 for renters. This leaves a sizable cushion of $26,800 for discretionary spending and savings. Homeowners would need $12,700 above the median income to cover basic necessities, though living comfortably is more in reach compared to other high-priced metro areas in the country.

Check out other cities in the full report here.


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