A new study by Apartment List ranks Fresno, California, second on the list of the top 10 major U.S. cities with the highest share of people paying too much of their income in rent. Mark Crosse The Fresno Bee file
A new study by Apartment List ranks Fresno, California, second on the list of the top 10 major U.S. cities with the highest share of people paying too much of their income in rent. Mark Crosse The Fresno Bee file

National

California has 5 of the top 10 worst cities for renters in the U.S.

By Don Sweeney

dsweeney@sacbee.com

November 09, 2017 11:42 AM

UPDATED November 09, 2017 04:01 PM

Do you think you pay too much rent? You might be right if you live in California, according to a new report.

Five of the top 10 worst major U.S. cities for renters are in California, according to an Apartment List survey that compares rent to income. Renters who pay 30 percent or more of their income for housing are considered cost-burdened, and the report ranks cities by their percentage of cost-burdened renters.

Fresno, Oxnard, Riverside, Los Angeles and San Diego made the top 10 list for major metropolitan areas with the highest shares of cost-burdened renters. In a surprising twist, San Francisco and San Jose rank farther down the list.

“Despite being the most expensive metro in California, San Francisco (#71) actually has the lowest share of cost-burdened renters, due to the high number of well-paid high-income renters, and the fact that many of the lower-income renters have already been pushed out of the metro,” said Sydney Bennet, the study’s author.

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The Apartment List study found that the share of cost-burdened renters actually dropped in 2016 to its lowest level since 2008. Despite this, nearly half of all U.S. renters – 49.7 percent nationwide – still pay too much income in rent, the study reports. One in four renters pay more than 50 percent of their income for housing.

Big cities in California and Florida have the largest shares of cost-burdened renters, along with smaller cities in the South. But bigger cities in the South, along with communities in the Rust Belt and Midwest, are more affordable for renters.

Miami, Florida, has the highest share of cost-burdened renters, at 62.8 percent, while Ogden, Utah, has the lowest at 37.9 percent.

In Fresno, 60.5 pecent of renters are cost-burdened, ranking it second on the list of worst U.S. major metropolitan areas for renters. In Oxnard, it’s 58.3 percent, making it No. 3, and in Riverside it’s 58.2 percent, ranking No. 4. In Los Angeles, 58 percent of renters are cost-burdened, making it No. 6 on the list and in San Diego, 57 percent are cost-burdened, making it No. 7.

About 48.3 percent of San Jose renters are cost-burdened, while 46.8 percent of San Francisco renters are cost-burdened.

Sacramento fares less well but stays out of the top 10 with 54.6 percent of renters being cost-burdened, coming in at No. 16, one spot below Bakersfield. For smaller California cities, the study shows 58.2 percent of Modesto renters are cost-burdened, Merced has a 49.1 percent share of cost-burdened renters and San Luis Obispo comes in at 47.6 percent.

'If we don't get started...we will have more than a crisis on our hands'

State Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, and other lawmakers supported a package of bills that seeks to encourage more affordable housing construction in California.

Angela Hart The Sacramento Bee