Affordability report

This is the salary you need to afford rent in Dallas right now

This is the salary you need to afford rent in Dallas right now

Dallas skyline at night
Dallas is actually one of the cheaper large cities to rent in Texas. Photo by Matt Pasant

What does it take to afford to live in Dallas? Surprisingly less than elsewhere in Texas — and the U.S. — according to a new report on rental affordability.

Apartment List analyzed the 100 largest U.S. cities to find the minimum gross income needed to afford a local apartment. When compared to the actual median household income, renters in 24 of the cities studied are burdened by the cost of living in a two-bedroom apartment. But that's not the case in Dallas, which lands on the affordable end of the spectrum.

In the Big D, the median rent price for a two-bedroom apartment clocks in at $1,111. That means a local renter here needs a gross annual income of $44,480 to afford rent without being cost-burdened, which is defined as spending more than 30 percent of gross income on rent. Apartment List breaks that down to an hourly wage of $21.

Meanwhile, the estimated median household income in Dallas for 2018 was $48,798, giving renters some cushion.

More Americans are renting, in part because of rising housing costs, and many of them are burdened by the cost. "Nearly half of renting households are cost-burdened," the report says. "The demographics of renting are changing as well. As homeownership becomes more and more unattainable for millennials, many forego purchasing a home and opt to rent further into adulthood."

Across the Lone Star State, those earning the median local income are out of the woods when it comes to being cost-burdened by rent, and about half of the Texas cities studied cost less than Dallas: San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Houston, Laredo, El Paso, and Lubbock.

Interestingly, with the exception of Austin (No. 2), Texas' more expensive places to rent are in the Metroplex. 

Plano, the most expensive, has a median rent of $1,435 and a required median income of $57,440, but that's not a stretch for residents, as the actual median income is $91,412. Arlington comes in at No. 3 with a median rent of $1,232 and required median income of $49,320.

No. 4 Garland's median rent of $1,225 requires earning $48,920; No. 5 Irving's median rent of $1,219 requires earning $48,680; and No. 6 Fort Worth surprisingly outranks Dallas with a median rent of $1,147 and required income of $45,920.

But this all pales in comparison to the most expensive U.S. city on the list: Fremont, California, where the median rent price is $3,731 a month and Apartment List recommends renters earn at least $150,040 annually, or a whopping $72 an hour.