Boston, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. are “Home” to the Least Affordable Rental Neighborhoods

Over the last few years, rents have been soaring in major cities across the country. In fact, rising rents have even outpaced home price growth in some markets, making homeownership a much cheaper deal than renting. That said, we realize that not everyone is ready to settle down and buy a house even if the math theoretically makes sense.

The trouble is, renting in some cities is prohibitively expensive. For instance, in the city of San Francisco, 78.1% of 1-bedroom homes are going for at least $2,500 a month. Meanwhile, 66.8% of 1-bedroom rentals in Boston were listed for $2,000 a month or more.

Where You’ll Find the Most Expensive 1-Bedroom Rentals
City or Borough % of 1-Bedrooms Renting for $2000+/Mo % of 1-Bedrooms Renting for $2500+/Mo % of 1-Bedrooms Renting for $3000+/Mo % of 1-Bedrooms Renting for $4000+/Mo
San Francisco 90.6% 78.1% 55.0% 15.3%
Manhattan (NYC) 89.3% 75.9% 57.5% 19.8%
Boston 66.8% 33.7% 13.8% 2.7%
Brooklyn (NYC) 51.3% 31.8% 15.9% 2.4%
Washington, D.C. 37.8% 13.1% 4.8% 0.6%
Los Angeles 35.9% 18.4% 9.8% 2.9%
Queens (NYC) 16.8% 3.9% 0.5% 0.1%
Bronx (NYC) 3.0% 0.5% 0.2% 0.1%
Note: Sorted by % of 1-bedrooms renting for $2,000+/month.

Now for renters who are no longer lone wolves and in the market for a 2-bedroom apartment, the odds of finding an affordable rental aren’t any better if you want to stay in the city center. For example, nearly half of all the 2-bedroom homes in Manhattan were listed for more than $4,000 a month. But if renters are willing to venture out to one of the other boroughs, the savings can be significant. In nearby Brooklyn, only 11% of 2-bedroom rentals are going for $4,000 a month or more as there are more rentals hovering near the $2,000 to $3,000 range.

Where You’ll Find the Most Expensive 2-Bedroom Rentals
City or Borough % of 2-Bedrooms Renting for $2000+/Mo % of 2-Bedrooms Renting for $2500+/Mo % of 2-Bedrooms Renting for $3000+/Mo % of 2-Bedrooms Renting for $4000+/Mo
San Francisco 97.7% 95.7% 90.8% 63.3%
Manhattan (NYC) 95.4% 88.6% 76.1% 47.7%
Boston 87.4% 67.0% 39.5% 12.1%
Washington, D.C. 77.0% 59.0% 32.7% 9.9%
Los Angeles 75.0% 56.1% 35.7% 14.1%
Brooklyn (NYC) 72.0% 46.4% 28.4% 11.0%
Queens (NYC) 57.3% 17.2% 4.8% 0.3%
Bronx (NYC) 12.5% 4.7% 1.8% 0.2%
Note: Sorted by % of 2-bedrooms renting for $2,000+/month

Fortunately for renters, not every neighborhood in a city is prohibitively expensive. So, to help house hunters in the country’s priciest rental markets, we’ve mapped out where most of the 1-bedroom rental are likely to be priced at more than $3,000 month or more than $2,000 a month. This is based on all the homes listed for rent on Trulia between Jan. 1, 2015 and Oct. 20, 2015, which includes single-family homes, apartments, condos, and townhouses. Only neighborhoods with a sizable sample size of rentals were included.

San Francisco – 1-Bedroom Units
Believe it or not, San Francisco is home to one of America’s most expensive rental markets. The median rent for a 1-bedroom rental in SF is currently at a whopping $3,200. The highest concentration of 1-bedroom rentals priced over $3,000 is in Fisherman’s Wharf (82.8%), followed by the Mission (78.8%), and Pacific Heights (73.8%). (Click here to see and get the embed code for interactive versions of the SF map below.)

SF 1 bedroom

San Francisco Neighborhoods with the Most Expensive 1-Bedroom Rentals
# Neighborhood % of 1-Bedrooms Renting for More than $3,000 Median Rent
1 Fisherman’s Wharf 82.8% $3,500
2 Mission 78.8% $3,500
3 Pacific Heights 73.8% $3,600
4 Castro 71.9% $3,500
5 Potrero Hill 71.7% $3,600
6 Telegraph Hill 70.0% $3,325
7 Mission Dolores 69.0% $3,500
8 Cow Hollow 68.8% $3,350
9 Hayes Valley 68.7% $3,500
10 Marina 68.3% $3,348

New York City – 1-Bedroom Units
The median rent for a 1-bedroom rental in Manhattan, currently at $3,250, is equally as high as in San Francisco. And, as can be expected, rents vary dramatically across the five boroughs. Manhattan is the priciest, with the highest concentration of pricey 1-bedroom rentals in Battery Park City (90.9%) and the Flatiron District (90.8%). You’ll find more affordable rentals in the other four boroughs, except in Vinegar Hill in Brooklyn where 94.7% of the 1-bedroom are going for at least $3,000 a month. (Click here to see and get the embed code for interactive versions of the NYC maps below.)

Manhattan 1 bed

Manhattan Neighborhoods with the Most Expensive 1-Bedroom Rentals
# Neighborhood % of 1-Bedrooms Renting for More than $3,000 Median Rent
1 Battery Park City 90.9% $3,800
2 Flatiron District 90.8% $4,195
3 Midtown South Central 89.7% $4,300
4 Hell’s Kitchen 87.3% $3,500
5 Stuyvesant Town 86.9% $3,405
6 Garment District 86.6% $3,700
7 Tribeca 86.4% $3,995
8 NoHo 86.2% $3,850
9 Koreatown 83.8% $3,600
10 Theater District – Times Square 83.3% $3,700

brooklyn1bd

Brooklyn Neighborhoods with the Most Expensive 1-Bedroom Rentals
# Neighborhood % of 1-Bedrooms Renting for More than $3,000 Median Rent
1 Vinegar Hill 94.7% $3,738
2 Downtown/DUMBO 57.9% $3,100
3 Brooklyn Heights 48.0% $3,000
4 Boerum Hill 40.4% $2,900
5 Greenpoint 39.6% $2,800
6 Cobble Hill 37.7% $2,800
7 Fort Greene 34.4% $2,800
8 Williamsburg 25.1% $2,600
9 Red Hook 17.5% $1,800
10 Carroll Gardens 12.7% $2,600

queens1bd

Queens Neighborhoods with the Most Expensive 1-Bedroom Rentals
# Neighborhood % of 1-Bedrooms Renting for More than $3,000 Median Rent
1 Whitestone 3.3% $1,550
2 Rego Park 1.9% $1,775
3 College Point 1.5% $1,350
4 Ridgewood 1.4% $1,600
5 Astoria 0.7% $1,900
6 Jamaica Estates 0.7% $1,600
7 Bayside 0.6% $1,600
8 Ditmars Steinway 0.4% $1,750
9 Kew Gardens 0.3% $1,700
10 Flushing 0.2% $1,595

bronx1bd

Bronx Neighborhoods with the Most Expensive 1-Bedroom Rentals
# Neighborhood % of 1-Bedrooms Renting for More than $3,000 Median Rent
1 City Island 5.0% $1,273
2 Throgs Neck – Edgewater Park 2.5% $1,300
3 Belmont 1.7% $1,200
4 Riverdale 1.7% $1,850
5 Mount Hope 0.6% $1,300
6 Bronxdale 0.4% $1,350
7 Norwood 0.3% $1,300
8 Bronxwood 0.0% $1,250
9 Claremont 0.0% $1,200
10 Concourse 0.0% $1,300

Boston – 1-Bedroom Units
In Boston, the median rent for 1-bedroom rentals is $2,300 and budget-conscious renters should avoid the heart of the city. The higher end of the market is located in the West End, Chinatown/Leather District, Downtown Boston, and Back Bay. This is where you’ll find most of the 1-bedroom homes that are going for more than $2,000 a month. (Click here to see and get the embed code for interactive versions of the Boston map below.)

boston 1bd

Boston Neighborhoods with the Most Expensive 1-Bedroom Rentals
# Neighborhood % of 1-Bedrooms Renting for More than $2,000 Median Rent
1 West End 96.6% $2,575
2 Chinatown / Leather District 93.9% $3,245
3 Downtown Boston 88.9% $2,875
4 Back Bay 85.3% $2,500
5 South End 79.4% $2,500
6 Beacon Hill 74.7% $2,250
7 Charlestown 71.7% $2,400
8 Bay Village 69.5% $2,400
9 South Boston 66.6% $2,476
10 Fenway-Kenmore 58.5% $2,100

Washington, D.C. – 1-Bedroom Units
In our nation’s capital, the median rent for 1-bedroom rentals is currently $1,875. Not surprisingly, the most expensive rentals form a ring around Capitol Hill, the White House, and all the rest of our country’s national monuments and museums. Renters will find the most 1-bedroom homes priced at $2,000 a month or more in Downtown (84.3%), Logan Circle-Shaw (76.7%), Cardozo-Shaw (76.5%), and Mount Vernon Square (76.4%). (Click here to see and get the embed code for interactive versions of the Washington, D.C. map below.)

DC 1 bed

Washington, D.C. Neighborhoods with the Most Expensive 1-Bedroom Rentals
# Neighborhood % of 1-Bedrooms Renting for More than $2,000 Median Rent
1 Downtown 84.3% $2,385
2 Logan Circle-Shaw 76.7% $2,400
3 Cardozo-Shaw 76.5% $2,299
4 Mount Vernon Square 76.4% $2,400
5 Georgetown 69.8% $2,500
6 West End 68.3% $2,363
7 Dupont Circle 63.6% $2,195
8 Foggy Bottom 62.2% $2,200
9 Kalorama Heights 50.0% $2,075
10 Adams Morgan 49.6% $2,000

Los Angeles – 1-Bedroom Units
While the City of Angels is known for multi-million dollar oceanfront mansions, the rental market isn’t nearly as over the top as it is in San Francisco and New York, but it’s not cheap either. The median rent for 1-bedroom rentals is currently $1,750. The neighborhood with the most 1-bedroom rentals going for more than $2,000 a month is Downtown Los Angeles (84.3%), followed by Brentwood (70.8%) and Century City (70.6%). (Click here to see and get the embed code for interactive versions of the LA map below.)

LA 1 bedroom

Los Angeles Neighborhoods with the Most Expensive 1-Bedroom Rentals
# Neighborhood % of 1-Bedrooms Renting for More than $2,000 Median Rent
1 Downtown Los Angeles 84.3% $2,550
2 Brentwood 70.8% $2,195
3 Century City 70.6% $2,638
4 Marina Del Rey 64.3% $2,350
5 Bel Air 64.0% $2,195
6 Westwood 58.9% $2,290
7 Beverly Center 56.3% $2,250
8 La Brea 55.0% $2,075
9 Hancock Park 51.3% $2,095
10 Hollywood Hills 48.6% $2,000

Looking for more space and want an additional bedroom? If so, you will probably want at least a 2-bedroom apartment. Pricing for 2-bedroom units are equally depressing as that for 1-bedroom units, if not more.

San Francisco – 2-Bedroom Units
The median cost for a 2-bedroom rental in SF is an incredible $4,500. The highest concentration of 2-bedroom rentals priced over $3,000 is in Fisherman’s Wharf (100%), followed by North Beach (95.2%), followed by the Marina (92.1%), which is then followed by Pacific Heights (90.7%). (Click here to see and get the embed code for interactive versions of the SF map below.)

SF 2 bed

San Francisco Neighborhoods with the Most Expensive 2-Bedroom Rentals
# Neighborhood % of 2-Bedrooms Renting for More than $3,000 Median Rent
1 Fisherman’s Wharf 100.0% $5,150
2 North Beach 95.2% $5,200
3 Marina 92.1% $5,475
4 Pacific Heights 90.7% $5,250
5 Mission Bay 86.7% $5,100
6 Castro 84.7% $4,995
7 Noe Valley 81.2% $4,700
8 South Beach 79.3% $5,500
9 Cow Hollow 78.9% $4,798
10 Russian Hill 78.9% $5,400

New York City – 2-Bedroom Units
Not far behind SF, the median cost of a 2-bedroom rental in Manhattan is $3,950. Much like for 1-bedrooms, Manhattan and Brooklyn dominate the other NYC boroughs when it comes to unaffordable housing for 2-bedrooms. For Manhattan, Battery Park City (98.8%) takes first place, Flatiron District (98.0%) second place, and Theater District – Times Square (97.8%) third place. Expensive neighborhoods in Brooklyn also have a very high proportion of 2-bedroom units priced above $3,000 per month. Those neighborhoods are Vinegar Hill (97.9%), DUMBO (90.7%), and Cobble Hill (87.9%). (Click here to see and get the embed code for interactive versions of the Manhattan map below.)

manhattan 2bd

Manhattan Neighborhoods with the Most Expensive 2-Bedroom Rentals
# Neighborhood % of 2-Bedrooms Renting for More than $3,000 Median Rent
1 Battery Park City 98.8% $6,385
2 Flatiron District 98.0% $6,223
3 Theater District – Times Square 97.8% $4,898
4 Tudor City 97.1% $4,475
5 West Village 96.5% $4,500
6 NoHo 95.5% $8,000
7 Tribeca 95.4% $5,795
8 Stuyvesant Town 95.2% $4,328
9 Chelsea 95.2% $5,200
10 Garment District 95.0% $4,995

brooklyn 2bd

Brooklyn Neighborhoods with the Most Expensive 2-Bedroom Rentals
# Neighborhood % of 2-Bedrooms Renting for More than $3,000 Median Rent
1 Vinegar Hill 97.9% $5,435
2 Downtown/DUMBO 90.7% $4,200
3 Cobble Hill 87.9% $3,800
4 Brooklyn Heights 85.9% $4,495
5 Boerum Hill 77.6% $3,600
6 Carroll Gardens 66.5% $3,500
7 Greenpoint 62.1% $3,350
8 Fort Greene 59.0% $3,350
9 Gowanus 53.2% $3,100
10 Williamsburg 47.9% $3,000

queens 2bd

Queens Neighborhoods with the Most Expensive 2-Bedroom Rentals
# Neighborhood % of 2-Bedrooms Renting for More than $2,500 Median Rent
1 Astoria 31.8% $2,376
2 Sunnyside 26.9% $2,325
3 Rego Park 25.7% $2,325
4 Clearview 25.6% $2,100
5 Ditmars Steinway 24.0% $2,300
6 Forest Hills 21.1% $2,300
7 Flushing 15.8% $2,100
8 Kew Gardens 13.2% $2,100
9 Woodside 12.4% $2,175
10 Jackson Heights 10.2% $2,063

bronx 2bd

Bronx Neighborhoods with the Most Expensive 2-Bedroom Rentals
# Neighborhood % of 2-Bedrooms Renting for More than $2,500 Median Rent
1 Spuyten Duyvil 57.7% $2,700
2 Riverdale 38.6% $2,400
3 Kingsbridge 20.2% $1,863
4 Fieldston 13.3% $2,100
5 Throgs Neck – Edgewater Park 6.7% $1,700
6 North Riverdale 6.4% $1,900
7 Woodstock 2.1% $1,450
8 Mount Hope 1.0% $1,530
9 Belmont 0.0% $1,500
10 Bronxdale 0.0% $1,660

Boston – 2-Bedroom Units
The median cost of a 2-bedroom rental in Boston is $2,845. Chinatown / Leather District (87.6%) came out on top of the list of the most expensive 2-bedroom rentals, followed by Downtown (79.1%) and Back Bay (75.4%). (Click here to see and get the embed code for interactive versions of the Boston map below.)

Boston 2bd

Boston Neighborhoods with the Most Expensive 2-Bedroom Rentals
# Neighborhood % of 2-Bedrooms Renting for More than $3,000 Median Rent
1 Chinatown / Leather District 87.6% $4,550
2 Downtown Boston 79.1% $3,878
3 Back Bay 75.4% $3,650
4 Bay Village 59.1% $3,300
5 South End 56.7% $3,175
6 West End 56.5% $3,080
7 South Boston 37.2% $2,800
8 Fenway-Kenmore 36.3% $2,820
9 Charlestown 34.2% $2,800
10 Allston 27.0% $2,400

Washington, D.C. – 2-Bedroom Units
In Washington, D.C., the median cost of a 2-bedroom rental is $2,700 and Georgetown (76.0%) came out on top in our analysis, followed by West End (74.0%) and Downtown (73.6%). Georgetown and West End were not among the top three neighborhoods in our 1-bedroom analysis. These two neighborhoods came out on top in our 2-bedroom analysis because many luxury properties in these neighborhoods tend to be larger in size (2+ units) and command a higher premium over smaller units. (Click here to see and get the embed code for interactive versions of the Washington, D.C. map below.)

DC 2 bed

Washington, D.C. Neighborhoods with the Most Expensive 2-Bedroom Rentals
# Neighborhood % of 2-Bedrooms Renting for More than $3,000 Median Rent
1 Georgetown 76.0% $3,500
2 West End 74.0% $3,550
3 Downtown 73.6% $3,300
4 Woodley Park 60.0% $3,200
5 Logan Circle- Shaw 56.5% $3,195
6 Cardozo – Shaw 55.8% $3,100
7 Dupont Circle 48.1% $3,000
8 Adams Morgan 44.6% $3,000
9 Mount Vernon Square 42.3% $2,995
10 Cathedral Heights 41.2% $2,950

Los Angeles – 2-Bedroom Units
Ranking for 2-bedroom units is similar to that for 1-bedroom units in Los Angeles, though the median price for a 2-bedroom is higher than a 1-bedroom at $2,695. Century City (84.1%) ranked highest, followed by Beverly Center (76.7%) and Downtown Los Angeles (70.0%). (Click here to see and get the embed code for interactive versions of the Los Angeles map below.)

LA 2 bed

Los Angeles Neighborhoods with the Most Expensive 2-Bedroom Rentals
# Neighborhood % of 2-Bedrooms Renting for More than $3,000 Median Rent
1 Century City 84.1% $3,985
2 Beverly Center 76.7% $3,688
3 Downtown Los Angeles 70.0% $3,525
4 Bel Air 67.7% $3,500
5 Brentwood 67.1% $3,550
6 Westwood 63.0% $3,500
7 Hollywood Hills 60.0% $3,800
8 Beverlywood 50.0% $3,025
9 Marina Del Rey 46.7% $2,973
10 Silver Lake 46.4% $2,995

Buying a home in these major cities, as we have learned, is not cheap. However, renting in these big cities, particularly in expensive neighborhoods that are close to a city center, is not cheap either. Affordable housing in both the for-sale and rental markets has become incredibly scarce in desirable neighborhoods in urban centers.

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