Average rent in the U.S. recently dropped for the first time in two years, with prices waning in more than half of the country’s largest renter hubs.
The declines aren't uniform, though, and for people trying to stick to a tight budget, some areas are still significantly more affordable than others.
AdvisorSmith, using data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, ranked 827 counties based on the cost of rent and the ability of households to make enough money to pay for housing. The most affordable places were the ones in which it was possible to earn a high salary and still benefit from low rental costs.
Topping the list of least affordable areas by that standard is the New York City borough of the Bronx, just north of Manhattan. Bronx residents have a median household income of $38,467, but pay a weighted median rent of $2,0666 -- a rent burden that totals 64.5 percent of income.
Oldham County, Kentucky -- a suburb of the Louisville metropolitan area -- fell on the opposite end of the spectrum. Residents in the wealthiest county in the state of Kentucky have a median household income of $102,033, but pay a weighted median rent of just $923 -- meaning families spend just about 11 percent on rent.
These large counties, close to big metro areas, ranked as the most affordable for renters, according to the study:
1. Johnson County, Kansas (Kansas City)
2. Oakland County, Michigan (Detroit)
3. Chester County, Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)
4. St. Louis County, Missouri (St. Louis)
5. Summit County, Ohio (Akron)
6. Montgomery County, Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)
7. Montgomery County, Ohio (Dayton)
8. Hamilton County, Ohio (Cincinnati)
9. Allegheny County, Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh)
10. Fort Bend County, Texas (Houston)
These were the least affordable:
1. Bronx County, New York (New York City)
2. Miami-Dade County, Florida (Miami)
3. Kings County, New York (New York City)
4. Suffolk County, Massachusetts (Boston)
5. Los Angeles County, California (Los Angeles)
6. Queens County, New York (New York City)
7. Honolulu County, Hawaii (Honolulu)
8. San Mateo County, California (San Francisco)
9. San Francisco County, California (San Francisco)
10. Broward County, Florida (Fort Lauderdale)