Sun Belt renters struggle the most with affordability

Miami was found to have the biggest affordability hurdles for renters, with the average worker needing to work 96 hours to pay for rent. This is 24 hours more than the time that renters needed to work five years ago, marking the largest gap among 50 of the largest metros in the US.

Renters faced similar challenges in other metros within the Sun Belt, a region that experienced a housing boom during the pandemic. In Tampa, the average worker would need an extra 20 hours of work to afford rent compared to five years ago. Meanwhile, renters in Phoenix would need to work 17 hours more to cover rent, with rents growing 66.7% since 2017.

In other Sun Belt areas, the hours of work needed to afford rent stayed below the national average of 63 hours. These metros included Atlanta, where renters need work of 61 hours to cover rent, as well as Phoenix (61 hours), Nashville (60 hours) and Austin (58 hours).

Out of the 50 metros included in the Zillow analysis, only San Jose, Boston and San Francisco saw rents becoming easier to pay over the past five years. These markets are also among the most expensive in the country where rents have grown slower than average, allowing wages to catch up.