Want cheap rent? Move to Bismark. Want cheap rent here? Good luck

Jul 10, 2024, 10:08 AM

seattle tacoma rent...

Tacoma ranks near the bottom of places to rent. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

(Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Can you imagine just paying 15% of your income on rent? If you’re OK with living in Bismarck, N.D., that dream can be a reality.

To no one’s surprise, that is not the case in Seattle or Tacoma.

“Despite its vibrant job market and appealing quality of life, the high rental costs (in Seattle) make affordability a significant hurdle for many,” Cassandra Happe, an analyst with personal finance site WalletHub, told MyNorthwest.

With over 55% of its housing units occupied by renters, Seattle’s vacancy rate sits at 4.9%.

Source: WalletHub

“In stark contrast, Tacoma ranks much lower at 179th, making it one of the least favorable cities for renters,” Happe said. “Tacoma’s affordability issues are even more pronounced, with rental costs consuming a larger portion of residents’ income and fewer protections and amenities for renters compared to other cities.”

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Safety is also a considerable concern in Tacoma, which is ranked as one of the most dangerous cities for renters. This further detracts from its overall attractiveness as a rental market.

This data is all part of a study released this week by personal finance site WalletHub. In order to determine the best local rental markets, WalletHub compared 182 cities — including the 150 most populated U.S. cities, plus at least two of the most populated cities in each state — across two key dimensions: “Rental Market & Affordability” and “Quality of Life.”

Along with Bismarck, the best cities in the top 10 include (in order) Overland Park, Kan.; Scottsdale, Ariz.; Sioux Falls, S.D.; Lewison, Maine; Chandler, Arizona; Fargo, N.D.; Gilbert, Ariz.; Huntsville, Ala.; and Lincoln, Neb.

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Tacoma ranked No. 179 out of the 182 metropolitan areas studied. Seattle was No. 140.

Along with Tacoma, the bottom five include (starting with the worst) Memphis, Tenn.; Detroit Mich.; Cleveland, Ohio; and Jackson, Miss.

Two other Washington cities made the list: Spokane (at No. 128) and Vancouver (at No. 169).

“In summary, while both cities (Seattle and Tacoma) offer unique qualities and opportunities, Seattle provides a better quality of life and job market for those who can afford it,” Happe said. “Whereas Tacoma presents more significant challenges in terms of safety and affordability.”

To view the full report and your city’s rank, you can view the list here.

Bill Kaczaraba is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here. Follow Bill on X, formerly known as Twitter, here and email him here

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Want cheap rent? Move to Bismark. Want cheap rent here? Good luck