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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Getting Warmer: Where Rent Prices are Hot (and Where They're Cool)

For those looking to live in a locale with an endless summer, it doesn't come cheap.

On average, renters in Orange County, Calif. pony up more than $1,650 a month for an average two-bedroom apartment, according to new data from and To cover housing costs alone, residents have to rake in about $32 an hour, no small feat in a wage-depressed economy.

Those in other major metropolitan areas aren't faring much better. Residents in parts of New Jersey and Washington, D.C. pay upwards of $1,200 a month on average for two-bedroom rentals. Workers in those cities have to make between $25 and almost $30 an hour to pay for their pricey pads.

But there are still deals to be had in great cities. Lansing and Grand Rapids, Mich. both boast a cost of living almost 20 percent below the national average, while still offering residents key big-city perks. To its credit, Grand Rapids has been called a city "on the edge of greatness" while Lansing is revered as one of the most environmentally friendly locations in the United States.

Here's a look at more cities around the country and what it costs to be a renter:

Avg Hourly Wage to Afford 2-Bedroom Apartment
Avg Cost Per Month for 2-Bedroom Apartment
Greensboro, N.C.
Cincinnati, Ohio
Lansing, Mich.
Grand Rapids, Mich.
Spokane, Wash.
Raleigh, N.C.
Tucson, Ariz.
Phoenix, Ariz.
Portland, Ore.
New Orleans, La.
Austin, Texas
Sacramento, Calif.
Philadelphia, Penn.
Seattle, Wash.
Newark, N.J.
Somerset, N.J.
Washington, D.C.
Orange County, Calif.


Meg Handley
Meg Handley is a reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can reach her at and follow her on Twitter at @mmhandley.

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