What is a typical apartment in the U.S.? A recent Berkeley survey analyzed 11 million Craigslist rental listings from May through July 2014 in order to find out. Headed by UC Berkeley Urban Analytics Lab, the survey had a conclusion with some unsurprising insights: New York and San Francisco are some of the most expensive cities to rent in the nation, and Atlanta and Detroit are some of the least expensive.
Across the entire filtered data set, the median rent was $1,145 with a median square footage of 982 and median rent per square foot at $1.11. The mean and median number of bedrooms was two.
According to the survey, 37 percent of the Craigslist listings in 58 Metro areas were below the corresponding Housing and Urban Development (HUD) fair market rents, but the Craigslist median rents were "reasonably comparable" to HUD estimates on average.
When the UC Berkeley Urban Analytics Lab analyzed rent burden, they looked for any rents that exceeded 30 percent of a typical household income for each Metro area. At their median values, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Boston, and San Diego all exceeded the "rent burden threshold."
As a whole, Craigslist listings in Washington, D.C. were only a little above the 20 percent threshold. In comparison to other Metro areas, the District’s prices were above Houston, Detroit, Phoenix, and Atlanta.
The typical square footage for a Washington, D.C. Craigslist listing was a little over 600, above cities like Los Angeles, Boston, New York, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Renters looking for the most amount of space should head to cities like Atlanta, Detroit, Phoenix, and Houston.
It's worth emphasizing that the data only focuses on the summer of 2014. Since then, Washington, D.C.’s rental market has gone through a number of changes.
Since 2014, less than 15 percent of newly constructed apartments in Washington, D.C. were affordable, while over 55 percent were at the luxury end. The median price of the least expensive third of rental units grew 7.7 percent year-over-year to a median $1,551 monthly rent, while the median price of the most expensive third of rental units grew 25.7 percent year-over-year to a median $3,229 monthly rent.
Since 2007, the median rent in the District increased 12.55 percent, from $1,355 to $1,525. This has resulted in renters in neighborhoods like Columbia Heights and Park View to shell out more than 60 percent of their income on rent.