Too Damn High

How much do Dallasites spend on rent? New study reveals staggering numbers.

How much do Dallasites spend on rent? Study shows staggering numbers.

Apartment Austin Rental
Almost half of Dallas renters spend too much of their income on rent. Photo courtesy of TexasApartmentRentals.com

Is Dallas rent too damn high? A new report from Apartment List reveals that almost half of Dallas renters are "cost-burdened," meaning they spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent.

Apartment List analyzed U.S. Census data from 2007-2014 and found that 48.5 percent of Dallas renters were cost-burdened in 2014. The median monthly rent was $861, while median monthly renter income was $2,820. That burden increased from 45.7 percent in 2007.

In other grim news, the report shows that half of Dallas' cost-burdened renters are severely burdened, meaning they spend more than 50 percent of their income on rent. While the local burden has increased, Apartment List notes that Dallas fares better than the national average of cost-burdened renters, which was 51.8 percent in 2014.

The report warns that any cost burden — especially a severe one — can hinder renters from transitioning to homeownership and preparing for the future. "Most personal finance experts recommend allocating 20-30 percent of income for rent, around 5 percent on healthcare, and around 10 percent for savings; high rents are likely eating into funds that should be set aside for health emergencies, the down payment on a home, or a retirement fund." 

A recent study from Zillow echoes Apartment List's warning. The listing website says that renters who spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent make major cuts in other important areas like savings, healthcare, and retirement plans.