Affordability report

This is the salary you need to afford rent in Houston right now

This is the salary you need to afford rent in Houston right now

Downtown Houston skyline
Houston is actually one of the cheapest large cities to rent in Texas. Photo by Shobeir Ansari, Getty Images

What does it take to afford to live in Houston? Surprisingly less than elsewhere in Texas — and the U.S. — according to a new report on rental affordability. 

Apartment List analyzed the 100 largest U.S. cities to find the minimum gross income needed to afford a local apartment. When compared to the actual median household income, renters in 24 of the cities studied are burdened by the cost of living in a two-bedroom apartment. But that's not the case in Houston, which lands on the affordable end of the spectrum.

In the Bayou City, the median rent price for a two-bedroom apartment clocks in at $1,026. That means a local renter here needs a gross annual income of $41,080 to afford rent without being cost-burdened, which is defined as spending more than 30 percent of gross income on rent. Apartment List breaks that down to an hourly wage of $20.

Meanwhile, the estimated median household income in Houston for 2018 was $50,980, giving renters plenty cushion.

More Americans are renting, in part because of rising housing costs, and many of them are burdened by the cost. "Nearly half of renting households are cost-burdened," the report says. "The demographics of renting are changing as well. As homeownership becomes more and more unattainable for millennials, many forego purchasing a home and opt to rent further into adulthood."

Across the Lone Star State, those earning the median local income are out of the woods when it comes to being cost-burdened by rent. But only a few of the Texas cities studied cost less than Houston: Laredo, El Paso, and Lubbock.

San Antonio and Corpus Christi are in line with Houston with median rents of $1,062 and $1,060, respectively, and a required median income of $42,520 in both cities. Dallas is slightly pricier, with a median rent of $1,111 and required median income of $44,480. Fort Worth actually edges out Big D with $1,147 median rent and $45,920 income required.

The most expensive place in the state is Plano, which has a median rent of $1,435 and a required median income of $57,440. Austin is second, with a median rent of $1,426 and required median income of $57,040.

That pales in comparison to the most expensive U.S. city on the list: Fremont, California, where the median rent price is $3,731 a month and Apartment List recommends renters earn at least $150,040 annually, or a whopping $72 an hour.