Where affordable housing and good jobs intersect

by Anna Sobrevinas22 Mar 2017

San Francisco may be known as a haven for tech workers, but it turns out that Seattle is more wallet-friendly for those who rent. That’s according to a new study that looked for communities that paired affordable housing and good jobs.

The study, conducted by Zillow and LinkedIn, analyzed both housing and employment data. Zillow and LinkedIn then used job listings and salary data plus the percentage of workers hired last year in the health care, technology and finance industries. By using Zillow’s median rent data and income tax rates, both companies were able to list the top housing markets nationwide where workers were still able to keep a large part of their income after paying rent.

And for West Coast tech workers, it turned out that Seattle is the place to be. After taxes and rental housing costs, tech workers in Seattle have around $5,500 left over each month –whereas those in San Francisco are left with $4,000.

Charlotte, N.C., ranked first as the best option for renters who work in finance, followed by Dallas-Fort Worth and Phoenix. Healthcare workers would find it best to rent in Phoenix, Indianapolis, Ind., and Boston.

"High demand and inventory shortages have driven up housing prices in some markets so much that even if you land a great job, the salary might not cover living within commuting distance," said Zillow Chief Economist Svenja Gudell. "On the other hand, the nation's most affordable housing markets don't always offer plentiful employment opportunities. Housing is the biggest line item in most people's budgets, so we did the math for you and found 'sweet spots' – places with great job markets and housing markets that will leave you with some cash at the end of the month."

Housing affordability is an issue on the West Coast, as housing prices have gone up over the last 10 years due to demand from highly-paid workers moving there. West Coast renters and homeowners alike have to spend almost half their median income to rent, whereas renters in the middle part of the country only spend a quarter of their median income.

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