New to adulting? Recent college grads can find a friendly housing market in these 10 cities
Attention, new college grads! Looking for the best place to start adulting?
Consider Colorado Springs.
The city − where the typical college grad makes $63,000 annually −has emerged as the top destination for those starting out, according to a recent Zillow study.
Despite having to spend about 35% of their income on rent without roommates (which lands it in the higher end of rent-burdened spectrum), strong job growth and a large population of people in their 20s makes Colorado Springs the number one destination in the country, according to Zillow Observed Rent Index.
The index combines each metropolitan area’s rent-to-income ratio, average salary for recent college graduates, job openings and the share of the population in their 20s. The analysis identifies cities that not only provide promising career prospects but also ensure a manageable rent burden for fresh graduates starting out.
Spokane, Washington and Des Moines, Iowa, take the second and third spots.
Both Colorado Springs and Spokane hold the distinction of being the second-largest markets by population in their respective states. The regions offer abundant job opportunities along with rents that are more affordable than their larger metro counterparts Denver and Seattle, according to Zillow.
In Colorado Springs, the typical rent is $1,824, compared to $2,031 in Denver. In Spokane, the typical rent is $1,563, compared to $2,223 in Seattle.
Phoenix and Portland stand out as the largest markets by population size, Zillow found.
While their typical rents rank highest on Zillow's top-10 list, Portland’s average salary for recent college grads ($71,618) offsets the higher living costs, a resulting in a manageable rent-to-income ratio. Phoenix, which placed fourth, surpassed all other analyzed metro areas for job opportunities, according to the study.
The national average salary for a recent college grad is $59,888 and the typical rent is $2,018, according to the analysis.
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"New college grads entering the market are forced to make a lot of decisions about their budget and rent affordability," says Emily McDonald of Zillow. "We've decided to put this analysis out mostly to inform renters of the factors they can and should be considering when they begin their apartment hunt."
1. Colorado Springs, Colorado
Typical Rent (Zillow Observed Rent Index – ZORI): $1,824
Average salary for recent college grads: $63,190
Rent-to-Income ratio: 35%
Thriving industries: Aerospace and Defense: Colorado Springs is home to several military installations, including the United States Air Force Academy and the Peterson Air Force Base. The aerospace and defense industry are significant drivers of the local economy.
2. Spokane, Washington
Typical Rent (Zillow Observed Rent Index – ZORI): $1,563
Average salary for recent college grads: $61,162
Rent-to-Income ratio: 31%
Thriving industries: Healthcare and Medical Services: Spokane has a strong healthcare sector, with numerous hospitals, medical centers, and healthcare providers.
3. Des Moines, Iowa
Typical Rent (Zillow Observed Rent Index – ZORI): $1,202
Average salary for recent college grads: $59,697
Rent-to-Income ratio: 24%
Thriving industries: Financial Services: Des Moines is known as an insurance and financial hub, with numerous insurance companies, banks, and financial institutions based in the city. The insurance industry offers opportunities for new grads in areas such as underwriting, claims management, actuarial science, and risk analysis.
4. Phoenix, Arizona
Typical Rent (Zillow Observed Rent Index – ZORI): $1,918
Average salary for recent college grads: $62,324
Rent-to-Income ratio: 37%
Thriving industries: Hospitality and Tourism: Phoenix attracts visitors as a popular tourist destination with its warm climate and cultural attractions. The hospitality and tourism industry offers employment opportunities in hotels, resorts, restaurants, event planning, tourism agencies, and destination marketing.
5. Buffalo, New York
Typical Rent (Zillow Observed Rent Index – ZORI): $1,257
Average salary for recent college grads: $59,929
Rent-to-Income ratio: 25%
Thriving Industries: Healthcare and Life Sciences: Buffalo has a strong healthcare and life sciences sector, with renowned hospitals, medical centers, and research institutions.
6. Albuquerque, New Mexico
Typical Rent (Zillow Observed Rent Index – ZORI): $1,531
Average salary for recent college grads: $59,163
Rent-to-Income ratio: 31%
7. Bakersfield, California
Typical Rent (Zillow Observed Rent Index – ZORI): $1,767
Average salary for recent college grads: $66,195
Rent-to-Income ratio: 32%
8. Albany, New York
Typical Rent (Zillow Observed Rent Index – ZORI): $1,524
Average salary for recent college grads: $63,513
Rent-to-Income ratio: 29%
9. Portland, Oregon
Typical Rent (Zillow Observed Rent Index – ZORI): $1,856
Average salary for recent college grads: $71,618
Rent-to-Income ratio: 31%
10. Little Rock, Arkansa
Typical Rent (Zillow Observed Rent Index – ZORI): $1,199
Average salary for recent college grads: $51,294
Rent-to-Income ratio: 28%
Swapna Venugopal Ramaswamy is a housing and economy correspondent for USA TODAY. You can follow her on Twitter @SwapnaVenugopal and sign up for our Daily Money newsletter here.