Living in a big city comes at a cost: smaller living spaces. That couldn't be more true in Austin, where the average-size apartment is out of reach for those earning the median income.
That's according to a new study from RentCafe that looked at how much space residents can afford to rent on the local median income, without spending more than 30 percent of their earnings and becoming cost-burdened.
An Austin resident earning the median income of $3,964 a month can afford 751 square feet of apartment, which comes to $1,189 a month. The average apartment in Austin, though, is 864 square feet and costs $1,369 a month, according to the study, the most rent in the state.
In Texas' other major cities, the amount of space you can afford on the median income varies, but all are smaller than the average apartment.
Fort Worth residents earning the median income ($3,279 a month) can afford the most space: up to 788 square feet for $984. The average apartment there is 871 square feet and costs $1,088 a month. Dallas offers the least amount of space of the Texas cities mentioned in the study. Its median income ($3,214 a month) covers only 679 square feet of apartment for $964 a month, however, the average apartment is 844 square feet and costs $1,199 a month.
In Houston, the median income of $3,143 a month gets you 757 square feet for $943, while the average apartment is 879 square feet and costs $1,094 a month. Similarly, in San Antonio, the median income of $3,009 a month can pay for up to 756 square feet for $903, but the average apartment is 853 square feet and costs $1,018.
Interestingly, in only 14 large U.S. cities can someone earning the median income afford a bigger-than-average apartment. Among them are Plano, where you can live large in 1,137 square feet of apartment (versus the average 935) for the median income, and Irving, where you can get 912 square feet of living space (compared to an average of 852).