The salary you need to comfortably afford a 2-bedroom apartment in the 25 biggest US cities

Pius Lee/ShutterstockFour cities in California made the list.

  • SmartAsset found what income is needed to comfortably afford rent for a two-bedroom apartment in 25 cities across the US.
  • The study calculated how much a renter would need to earn to spend no more than 28% of their annual income on rent.
  • In seven cities, renters need to earn more than $US100,000.

Rent for a two-bedroom apartment in New York City is more than double the cost of rent in Denver, Colorado.

It’s clear that depending on where in the United States you live, rent may take up a bigger portion of your income.

SmartAsset found what income is needed to comfortably afford rent for a two-bedroom apartment in 25 cities across the US. Comfortably, in this case, means spending no more than 28% of annual salary. The data on average apartment costs came from RentCafe.com and is from June 2018.

To be clear, 28% is just a benchmark and is actually lower than the 30% budget many experts recommend. In some cities with expensive housing markets, that figure can be higher. Though you can cut costs by pairing up with a roommate and splitting the rent.

Below are the top 25 cities with rent costs for a two-bedroom apartment and the annual income you’ll need (before taxes) to comfortably afford rent there.


25. Memphis, Tennessee

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Average 2-bedroom rent: $US769

Annual income needed: $US32,957


24. El Paso, Texas

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Average 2-bedroom rent: $US773

Annual income needed: $US33,129


23. Indianapolis, Indiana

Average 2-bedroom rent: $US852

Annual income needed: $US36,514


22. Columbus, Ohio

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Average 2-bedroom rent: $US917

Annual income needed: $US39,300


21. Phoenix, Arizona

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Average 2-bedroom rent: $US1,040

Annual income needed: $US44,571


20. Jacksonville, Florida

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Average 2-bedroom rent: $US1,058

Annual income needed: $US45,343


19. San Antonio, Texas

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Average 2-bedroom rent: $US1,085

Annual income needed: $US46,500


18. Fort Worth, Texas

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Average 2-bedroom rent: $US1,124

Annual income needed: $US48,171


17. Detroit, Michigan

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Average 2-bedroom rent: $US1,135

Annual income needed: $US48,643


16. Charlotte, North Carolina

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Average 2-bedroom rent: $US1,175

Annual income needed: $US50,357


15. Houston, Texas

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Average 2-bedroom rent: $US1,205

Annual income needed: $US51,643


14. Dallas, Texas

Average 2-bedroom rent: $US1,324

Annual income needed: $US56,743


13. Nashville, Tennessee

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Average 2-bedroom rent: $US1,338

Annual income needed: $US57,343


12. Austin, Texas

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Average 2-bedroom rent: $US1,431

Annual income needed: $US61,329


11. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Average 2-bedroom rent: $US1,672

Annual income needed: $US71,657


10. Denver, Colorado

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Average 2-bedroom rent: $US1,720

Annual income needed: $US73,714


9. San Diego, California

Average 2-bedroom rent: $US2,207

Annual income needed: $US94,586


8. Seattle, Washington

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Average 2-bedroom rent: $US2,245

Annual income needed: $US96,214


7. Chicago, Illinois

Average 2-bedroom rent: $US2,381

Annual income needed: $US102,043


6. Washington, DC

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Average 2-bedroom rent: $US2,527

Annual income needed: $US108,300


5. Los Angeles, California

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Average 2-bedroom rent: $US2,773

Annual income needed: $US118,843


4. San Jose, California

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Average 2-bedroom rent: $US2,878

Annual income needed: $US123,343


3. Boston, Massachusetts

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Average 2-bedroom rent: $US3,356

Annual income needed: $US143,829


2. New York, New York

Average 2-bedroom rent: $US3,789

Annual income needed: $US162,386


1. San Francisco, California

Sergey Novikov/Shutterstock

Average 2-bedroom rent: $US4,382

Annual income needed: $US187,800

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