(NEXSTAR) – It’s no question that affording housing – whether owning or renting – is expensive. While most Americans say they’re spending about 25% of their income on housing expenses, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that’s not exactly the case in some of Texas’s biggest cities.
In a recent analysis, SmartAsset reviewed the nation’s 25 largest cities to determine the number of hours a renter would need to work to cover housing costs based on three metrics: average annual take-home pay, average hours worked per year, and median monthly rent.
For example, in Detroit, the estimated hourly wage is $20.80 after taxes while the median rent is $850. This means a renter needs to work just over 40 hours to cover their rent each month. Detroit is the only city SmartAsset reviewed where a renter needs to work just one full-time week to cover rent.
The analysis also referred to a common financial rule of thumb – you shouldn’t spend more than 30% of your pre-tax income on housing. In Detroit, SmartAsset’s analysis found renters are following that financial guideline and spending about 25% of their pre-tax income on housing.
In some of Texas’s biggest cities, that isn’t always possible.
Renters in Austin have to work more hours just to cover rent than those living in any other Texas city analyzed, SmartAsset found. With an estimated hourly wage of $23.44 and a median monthly rent of $1,346, those living in Austin need to work slightly more than 57 hours to cover rent.
Austin is the only Texas city to land within the top 10 on SmartAsset’s list. Dallas and Houston were the next highest on the list, coming in at 12th and 13th, respectively. They weren’t very different either.
In Dallas, with an estimated hourly wage of $20.61 and a median rent of $1,111, the average resident would need to work 53.9 hours to cover rent. In Houston, 53.8 hours of work are needed to afford a median rent of $1,086 with an estimated hourly wage of $20.20.
Close behind were Fort Worth and San Antonio. Just over 52 hours of work with an estimated hourly wage of $21.35 covers Fort Worth’s median rent of $1,115. In San Antonio, you’d need 51.8 hours of work with an estimated wage of $19.78 an hour to afford the average rent of $1,025.
Rounding out Texas’ cities on the list was El Paso. With the lowest estimated hourly wage on the list at $18.02, you’d need to work 47.6 hours to afford El Paso’s median rent of $857 (the second-lowest rate on the list after Detroit’s $850).
Renters in Austin, Dallas, Houston, Fort Worth, and San Antonio aren’t exactly following the financial rule of spending no more than 30% of their income on housing, but they do come close. Based on SmartAsset’s data, here is roughly how much of an average renter’s income is going to housing:
- Austin: 36%
- Dallas: 34%
- Houston: 33%
- Fort Worth: 33%
- San Antonio: 32%
El Paso is the only Texas city where the average renters are spending less than 30% of their income on housing at 29.7%.
Topping out SmartAsset’s overall analysis was San Jose, California, where renters have to work almost two weeks of full-time work to cover a median rent of $2,232.
These rankings may not come as a shock to some Texas renters. Rent in two Austin neighborhoods alone has risen by more than 100% over the past year, a recent report found.