Housing Woes

Skyrocketing rents force locals to make major cuts in these areas

Skyrocketing rents force locals to make major cuts in these areas

Dallas skyline downtown during day
Renters in DFW have it slightly better than other Texas markets — but not by much, according to Zillow. Texas Wide Open for Business/Facebook

Renting in Dallas and Fort Worth comes at a high cost — and we're not just talking about the skyrocketing prices. According to Zillow, unaffordable rent prices in U.S. cities are forcing residents to cut back in important areas. A recent survey from the real estate website reveals what renters are giving up to pay for that apartment each month.

Zillow says renters should expect to spend about 30 percent of their monthly income on rent, but — luckily — in DFW, the number is slightly lower. In the first quarter of 2015, the percentage of monthly income spent on rent was 28.8 percent, up almost 1 percent from the previous year, leaving residents with high-burden rents that result in major cuts elsewhere. 

The first thing to go? Savings. Zillow reports that renters who spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent have a median savings rate of zero. And nearly 60 percent of renters with high burdens "said they could not cover three months' worth of expenses if they were to lose their main source of income."

On the flip side, the typical renter with a lower burden sets aside 5 percent of monthly income for savings. Still, 44 percent of those renters cannot cover three months of expenses. 

High rents are also forcing residents to cut back on healthcare and plans for retirement. In the last year, 40 percent of those with high rents skipped the dentist and 25 percent skipped the doctor. In addition, 27 percent of young adult renters with high burdens haven't given any thought to retirement.

The outlook is similar in other Texas markets. In Austin, 31.8 percent of monthly income is spent on rent, and in Houston the percentage is 30.5. San Antonio is below the threshold at 29.7 percent, meaning DFW renters are actually slightly ahead of the pack.