D.C.: The Most Affordable City in America!
That's the conclusion reached in a new report by the Center for Housing Policy and the Center for Neighborhood Technology. Of the 25 largest metro areas in the country, the capital region places the lowest housing and transportation burden on its residents:
Streetsblog explains how this came to pass:
One key detail: The new study defines “moderate incomes” differently for each metro area, looking at households earning between 50 and 100 percent of that area’s median income. So in Miami, a “moderate income” ranges between $25,444 and $50,888; in D.C., it’s $44,531 to $89,063.
In the lowest-ranking cities – after Miami, it’s Riverside, California; then Tampa, Los Angeles and San Diego – incomes simply weren’t high enough to offset the expense of housing and transportation. For example, even though Miami’s housing and transportation costs ranked slightly lower than average, its low incomes inflated the burden of those costs. ...
In expensive cities like D.C., Boston, and San Francisco, higher incomes helped cushion the shock. In all three cities, housing costs were higher than average – in D.C., transportation prices were also notably higher – yet those costs consumed a lower fraction of total income.
I'd throw in one additional x-factor. The five "most-burdened" cities all have warm climates, and most have good beaches. The five "least-burdened" have cold winters (with the semi-exception of San Francisco) and, in the case of No. 1 D.C., oppressively hot and humid summers; none has easy access to swimmable beaches. People pay extra for quality of life, above and beyond the usual income/cost balance.