It’s finally that time of the year. School is out for the summer and this years college graduates begin striking out on their own. While it might be tempting to head to the big cities, it’s not affordable for most graduates without having a roommate (or three). On the other hand, it may be tempting to live alone once you are out of the college gates. But that isn’t the most affordable option. Salaries and rental prices across the United States mean that no matter where you live, you will need a roommate. Here are some of the most affordable places for college grads to live.
St Louis, Missouri
Sitting along the banks of the Mississippi river, there is the city of St Louis. It has ranked at the top as the most affordable place in the United States for graduates. St Louis offers 18.62% of the rental units being attainable with a graduates wages. The median rent in St Louis is $868, so if you were making the median income of $25,778 a year, you would still need 0.3 of a roommate. But if you are lucky enough to be making $34,053, your salary would cover the rent so that you could live by yourself. With nearly 20% of the properties in St Louis being affordable, there will be plenty to choose from.
In Northern Texas, Dallas is a busy place. There are a large amount of Fortune 500 companies that are always looking for employees. The number of rentals that would be affordable for a graduate is still quite high at 14.87% of the market. So there are plenty to choose from. The median rent in Dallas is $1,197 and the average graduate salary being $30,933. With those figures you would only need an extra $16,000 per year, or half a roommate. Although if you had a whole roommate, it would bring your share down to around $600 per month. That leaves plenty of money to pay off those student loans and explore the different arts districts around the city.
Staying in Texas with 10.36% of affordable rentals is Houston. But that might not be the only reason for graduates to move there. The city boasts having a large industrial base in aeronautical, manufacturing, transportation, and energy. It is also home to many Fortune 500 companies, with only New York City having more than Houston. It’s not surprising then that the city has been on lists as a great place for businesses, graduates, and to buy a home. But if you aren’t looking to buy, there is still that 10% of rentals. The median salary of the city means that you would need an extra $20,500 per year. Or only 0.7 of a roommate would be needed to make the average rent in the city affordable.
If you like hot summers and cold winters but can’t afford Chicago, then maybe Atlanta is the place for you. The employment sector includes information technolgy and logistics. The market share of affordable rentals in under 10% at only 8.71%. To afford the median rent in Atlanta, a graduate would need an extra $13,500 per year to make the rent affordable. Despite Atlanta having a smaller amount of properties than Houston, you would only need 0.5 of a roommate to make the rent. The rent here might be more affordable but there are fewer rentals available.
If a hot sunny climate is what you fancy after college, then Phoenix has a market share of 8.05% of rentals. The Valley of the Sun has seen crime rates and new businesses open in recent years. Despite having a history of farming, the city has seen growth in the technology industry. A recent graduate would need an extra $16,290 in extra income per year to make the median rent in the city affordable. These figures put it just below Atlanta but with a roommate, it would still be affordable.
Philadelphia is home to seven Fortune 1000 companies. It’s not surprising that the market share for graduates is small. Employment sectors include oil refinery, biotechnology, healthcare, and financial services. There is a real diversity of employment available in the city. Only 5.07% of rentals are affordable and the average graduate would need an extra $30,000 per year to make the median rent. The average graduate wage in the city is $43,000 at the low end of the scale. But a software engineer can make on average around $100,000 per year. Depending on your major and line of work, you might be able to live alone.
Baltimore has been ranked as the 26th most prosperous city in the United states. Baltimore has a small percentage of rentals affordable to graduates. With 4.82% of affordable rentals, it’s quite a low number. The average graduate would need an extra $27,000 per year to make the median rent in Baltimore affordable. This is around $3,000 less than Philadelphia but the market share of affordable rentals is smaller by around 0.3%. So it may be a little bit cheaper but it still a smaller amount of rentals that would be affordable.