Places Where Wages and Rent are Growing Together

Across the country, rental and house prices are skyrocketing while wages stagnate, causing more and more Americans to be priced out of their homes. Even in cities where the job market is booming, salaries cannot keep up with surging housing costs. However, a few cities are hanging in there. Read on for four cities whose wage growth is keeping pace with housing costs.

Tulsa, Oklahoma

The second biggest city in the Sooner State has been able to keep pace with hikes in housing prices. In comparison to other U.S. cities, Tulsa's rent increases have been downright marginal. Between January of 2011, and July of 2017, the average monthly rent of a two bedroom apartment has gone up only $46, an increase of 6% over the course of five years.

For a closer look at Tulsa's economy, let's zoom in on a two-year window. According to the Washington Post, the weekly wages in Tulsa increased 7% between 2013 and 2015. During the same time frame, rental prices for a two-bedroom apartment increased 3.6% from $937 per month in July of 2013 to $971 per month in July of 2015. Wage growth is outpacing not only rental costs, but home prices as well. The median home price in Tulsa has increased only 5.7% between 2013 and 2015.

Located along the Arkansas River, Tulsa is a medium sized city known for its art deco architecture, and its nationally recognized art museum, the Philbrook Museum of Art.

tulsa city skyline around downtown


Raleigh, NC

The capitol of North Carolina, Raleigh is a picturesque city dating back to the 18th century. Industry in Raleigh is thriving, thanks to its position in North Carolina's "Research Triangle." The Research Triangle is composed of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, which are each home to a prestigious research university (North Carolina State University, Duke University, and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, respectively). Its location in one of the most successful research parks in the country puts Raleigh at the forefront of high tech, biotech, and advanced textile research.

All of this research is good for Raleigh's economy. Between 2013 and 2015, the average salary in the city increased 3.2%, from $55,170 per year to $56,910 per year.

The thriving local economy is not blowing up Raleigh's housing market however. Between July of 2013 and July of 2015, the average rent for a two bedroom apartment only increased 3.9%, from $1,026 to $1,059 per month. This is relatively consistent with the rate of growth for wages in Raleigh, keeping the city generally affordable.

Oklahoma City

Another city that remains affordable is also in Oklahoma. Oklahoma City has relatively stable rental and job markets. Between 2013 and 2015, Oklahoma City saw a 4.2% wage growth, with average salary increasing from $45,824 to $47,779 per year.

The rental market saw a similar increase. Between July of 2013 and July of 2015, the average cost for a two-bedroom apartment in Oklahoma City increased 5.1%. While rental costs are technically growing faster than wages in Oklahoma City, the rate by which rent is outpacing salary increases is marginal, and Oklahoma City remains affordable for most of its residents.

The state capitol of Oklahoma, most of Oklahoma City's industry is centered around oil. It also hosts one of the largest livestock markets in the country. Its fun cowboy culture keeps the city lively, with rodeos and bustling cowboy bars. Locals love cheering on their hometown basketball team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, at the Chesapeake Energy Arena downtown. Culturally, Oklahoma City hosts one of the top 10 zoos in the country, and their main museum, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, is home to the most comprehensive collection of Chihuly glass in the world.

Lake Overholser Dam in Oklahoma City

Rochester, NY

While NYC's rents keep going up and up, rents in upstate Rochester remain stable. Known for its excellent university, Rochester is a small city with a view of Lake Ontario.

Monthly rent for a two bedroom apartment in Rochester NY in July of 2013 was $971. By July of 2015, rent prices had actually decreased slightly, with a two-bedroom apartment costing $948 on average. This means that rental prices decreased 2.9% during the two-year period.

Wages in Rochester have been similarly stable, though moving in a positive direction. The average salary for a Rochester resident in 2015 was $30,960 per year, up from $30,875 in 2013. Though wages have only increased by 0.3% over the span of two years, with rental prices staying stable, and even decreasing slightly, wage growth is actually outpacing rising rental costs in Rochester.

Though the cost of living is relatively low in Rochester, many of its residents cannot make ends meet. 33.5% of the city's population lives in poverty, which is more than double the national poverty rate of 13.5%. In addition, 16.2% of Rochester's population live in extreme poverty, which is defined as a family income of $11,925 per year or less. This is the highest rate of extreme poverty for any city in the country.

Though rental prices are rapidly increasing nationwide, there are a few cities where wages have managed to keep up. If you want to live somewhere where wages are keeping up with housing costs, you might be moving to Oklahoma.

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