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Rent Reports: Detroit still affordable, comparatively

Michelle & Chris Gerard

New reports on the cost of rent are out and while it continues to inch up in the Motor City, rent overall is still well below many major cities. It might not seem like it, considering rental prices downtown have risen quite a bit in the past few years, but there are a lot of rentals out there (for help finding some, check in on our interesting rentals from around the city).

The first report comes from a UK study through Nested, which looked at rentals across the UK and US. The study looked at what rents costs for a single person, for a family, and what one needs to make in order to afford rent in the city. Take into mind the square footage they determined was necessary: for a single person, 420 square feet; for a family of four, 797 square feet is the minimum. Yes, these are small spaces. In the US cities, Detroit comes up as the most affordable, at $1.09 per square foot. Here’s how the numbers came out across the board.

Nested Rent Affordability Index

In the worldwide study, Detroit ended up more affordable than Cape Town, Bangkok, and Jakarta.

In another study looking at affordability in different US cities, Appfolio and Axiometrics determined that even though prices for rent have risen downtown, Detroit is still affordable in terms of rent. They deemed that spending more than 50% of income on rent is a rent burden (well, yes). Their study determined that the average rent in the city is $928 and the average monthly income is $2,382, putting the percentage of income spent on rent at 39%.

Still not great. While rent continues to be lower than other big cities, some wages are also lower. And of course, these studies don’t factor in other costs, like car insurance, which is just too damn high.