The homeownership rate in the U.S. is at lows not seen since 1965 – and as a result, there are more renters in the housing market than ever before.

With rental prices across the country continuing to rise from this demand, there is one question on the minds of many Americans: how and where can dollars spent on housing be stretched the furthest?

Housing market bloggers RentCafe have taken both of these key variables into account in the graphic below, which compares the square footage of an apartment with a fixed rent of $1,500 in the top 100 most populous U.S. metro areas.

Finding The Right Balance

Data like this helps to answer one of the most pressing problems that a prospective renter may have, which is finding the right balance in the trade-off between cost and size.

Cities like Cincinnati, Las Vegas, and St. Louis offer a benchmark for the American rental prices, as they have an average dollar-to-space ratio of 1:1.

This kind of value can’t be found in most cities on the list, however. And in cities like San Francisco, Boston, and New York, the ratios get really out of whack. In Manhattan, $1,500 gets you just 271 square feet of space, which is the equivalent of $5.53 per square foot.

Space: The Rental Frontier

The disparity between these spatial arrangements is made clear in the graphic below. A fixed $1,500 budget would allow a renter to live in nearly 2,000 square feet of space in Wichita, KS, compared to the aforementioned “closet” in Manhattan:

Rental Prices In The USA

Adjusting For Income

Not all renters’ budgets will be fixed at $1,500 per month, of course.

To address the wide variation in income and percentage of income that individual renters will be able to devote to their housing expenses, this calculator shows the equivalent square footage for any given monthly rent in a selection of the cities in the main graphic above.

Maximal limit (500 views/month) of the calculator had been overcome for It is still possible to use the calculator at

Article by Chris Matei – Visual Capitalist