Rental ads from throughout 2014 placed on advertisement website Craigslist provided vital research material for UC Berkeley Urban Analytics Lab who looked into 11 million posts to analyze the rental market in the US, delivering interesting insights on the affordability of housing across the country.
As predicted, rent listings for large cities on both coast were high, namely cities stretching through the Boston-Washington corridor and California along with Chicago, Denver and Settle.
Median rent per square foot was highest in New York. North Dakota surprisingly followed with an unmet demand while San Francisco’s Bay Area, Boston and Santa Barbara followed in third, fourth and fifth places, respectively.
“New York’s median rent/ft² is more than 3.5x higher than Atlanta’s, reflecting underlying differences in land values which capitalize variation in amenities, incomes, supply, and demand,” the study’s summary reads. New York places first in exceeding the rent burden, which means that rent exceeded 30% of average household income. Other cities exceeding the rent burden included Boston, Miami, San Francisco’s Bay Area and Los Angeles.
“Rents are more “compressed” in soft markets. For example, in Detroit, most of the listed units are concentrated within a very narrow band of rent/ft² values, but in San Francisco rents are much more dispersed. Housing vouchers may end up working very differently in high-cost vs low-cost areas,” the study adds. “Craigslist listings correspond reasonably well with Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates, but provide up-to-date data including unit characteristics, from neighborhood to national scales. For example, we can see how rents are changing, neighborhood by neighborhood, in San Francisco in a given month.”
The average rent rate in the country is US $1,145 while the average area is 982 square feet. Average number of bedrooms for listed residential units were two while the median rent per foot is USD $1.11.
*Never miss a story like this - subscribe to our weekly highlights and stay up-to-date