Study: Detroit is actually more expensive than Seattle, relatively speaking


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As far as the mainstream narrative goes, Detroit is supposed to be your quintessential post-industrial Midwestern burg — a former big city with room to grow, and a much cheaper rent than what you'll find in other metropolises. Meanwhile, Seattle is the poster city for tech-fueled gentrification, a place where a booming industry has caused a housing crunch.

But a new study from puts things in perspective. The study looked at how much of one's paycheck goes toward rent in the 25 biggest cities in the country, assuming median city income and rental rates. By that measure, the study found Detroit is actually more expensive than Seattle.

"Some of the findings surprised even us," the authors write.

They continue:

This was probably the one data point that caught our attention the most. At first glance, it doesn’t seem possible. After all, the median one-bedroom rental in Seattle is nearly $2,000 a month while rates in Detroit are hovering around $780.

However, when you consider the median annual income in each city, the average worker in Detroit is barely cracking $22,000 after taxes. That means 42 percent of that paycheck is being used for rent, where workers in Seattle are bringing home $63,600 each year — of which 38 percent goes to rent.

By that measure, Detroit is also less affordable than Chicago and Denver. You can read more here.

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