Special Report

Cities Where the Middle Class Can No Longer Afford Housing

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

18. Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT
> Cost-burdened middle-class households: 34.3%
> Median home value: $245,000
> Median household income: $71,414
> Homeownership rate: 66.5%

Hartford is one of several metro areas in the Northeastern United States where over a third of middle-class households are burdened by housing costs. The higher than typical share of cost-burdened middle class residents is due in part to the higher housing prices in the area. The typical Hartford home is worth $247,900, and rental costs in the area are about 8.5% more expensive than they are on average nationwide.

Higher-income households in the metro area are far less likely to spend over 30% of their income on housing than the middle class. Just 5.7% of households earning $75,000 or more per year in Hartford are burdened by the cost of housing.

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

17. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA
> Cost-burdened middle-class households: 36.1%
> Median home value: $357,000
> Median household income: $71,931
> Homeownership rate: 63.2%

Housing is far less affordable in the Portland metro area today than it has been in years past. As recently as 2013, the median home price in the area was 4.5 times greater than the median income. As of 2018, the median home price was 5.2 times greater. Real estate prices are outpacing income growth likely due in part to increased demand driven by population growth. Over the same five year period, the number of people living in the metro area increased by 7.1% — far faster than the comparable national population growth of 3.8%.

Currently, 36.1% of middle income earners in Portland are spending more than 30% of their income on housing.

Source: photoquest7 / Getty Images

16. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
> Cost-burdened middle-class households: 36.8%
> Median home value: $375,000
> Median household income: $76,643
> Homeownership rate: 64.1%

Denver is one of the fastest growing metro areas in the country. In the last five years, the number of people living in the area climbed from 2.6 million to 2.9 million, a 9.2% growth. The rapid population growth has given way to an increasingly unaffordable real estate market. As of 2018, the median home in the metro area was worth 5.6 times more than the median income. As recently as 2013, the typical Denver home was worth 4.4 times the median income.

Of all middle-class households in the metro area, 31.9% spend between 30% and 50% of their income on housing, and 4.9% spend over half of their income on housing.

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

15. Stockton-Lodi, CA
> Cost-burdened middle-class households: 38.0%
> Median home value: $349,000
> Median household income: $61,164
> Homeownership rate: 57.0%

Stockton-Lodi is one of eight California metro areas to rank on this list. The typical area home is worth $349,000, well above the national median home value of roughly $200,000. The high housing costs put financial strain on the city’s middle income earners. About 32% of middle-class households spend between 30% and 50% on housing, and nearly 6% spend over half of their income on housing.

As is the case nationwide, renters are more likely to be housing cost burdened than homeowners in Stockton-Lodi. The 56.9% share of renters who spend at least 30% of their income on housing is more than double the comparable 26.6% share of homeowners.

Source: Art Wager / Getty Images

14. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL
> Cost-burdened middle-class households: 39.5%
> Median home value: $268,000
> Median household income: $54,284
> Homeownership rate: 59.5%

Nearly four in every 10 middle-class households in the Miami metro area spend at least 30% of their income on housing. Renters in the city are more likely to struggle to afford housing than in any other metro areas in the country. Miami’s rental market is 30% more expensive than average nationwide, and partially as a result, 61.1% of renters are housing-cost burdened, the largest share of any major U.S. metro area. Miami is also one of only four metro areas nationwide where more than one in every three homeowners are burdened with relatively high housing costs.

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