You can’t put a price on a good night’s sleep. Or can you? Millions of homeowners sleep a little easier knowing they’ve got their foot on the property ladder. But what
about the single young professionals dreaming of their own home in the city? At eachnight, we looked at the cost of studio and 1-bedroom homes in the 25 most populated US cities and
out how much a growing number of single buyers must earn annually to sleep soundly in their own home at night.
The price is right... out of reach Sadly, for single buyers, house prices across popular US cities are steep…and rising! They’re growing at double the rate of US salaries, leaving many wondering if
they’ll ever afford their own place. Our research shows San Francisco tops the table for the costliest studio and 1-bedroom homes for single
professionals. An average studio apartment in the city sets buyers back over half a million dollars
($550,007) – with a 1-bedroom home costing a daunting $891,332 on average. So, buyers pay a staggering $341,325 more for the luxury of having a separate sleeping space. Studio
apartments offer better value for money in San Francisco – going against the grain, with 1-bedrooms
being the more cost-effective option across the country. San Jose, Boston, Los Angeles, and New York are among the other costliest cities for single buyers. San Jose
and Boston both top the half-a-million mark, with studio apartments averaging $540,990 and $527,889
respectively. The same apartment costs $473,885 in Los Angeles and $393,900 in New York. Indianapolis is the most affordable city for single buyers, with studios costing just $41,810 on average and
1-bedroom homes averaging $201,856. Both represent the best cost per square foot, too.
The question for those looking to buy is: which offers the best value for money, studio or 1-bedroom homes? This is worked out by ‘cost per square foot’ – how much buyers pay for the space they get. And the answer
is, typically, 1-bedroom homes give buyers more mileage for their dollar. Our research shows 67% of cities offer a lower cost per square foot when buying a 1-bedroom home than a
And in some cases (20% of cities studied), 1-bedroom homes are even cheaper than studios. These cities
Tucson, Houston, Detroit, Fort Worth, and Dallas.
Signing up for a home is a big deal. If you’re considering a studio apartment, you might as well pay a
little extra for a 1-bedroom home, right? More space and greater selling value are thought to be worth the
higher total cost for many. But this isn’t always true. In some cities, the cost of extra space and a separate bedroom far outweigh the
benefits. While San Francisco tops the table for upgrading costs, it’s Philadelphia’s property prices that prove most
shocking. The cost to upgrade from a studio to a 1-bedroom in Philadelphia is $152,501 – which is more than
average cost of a studio apartment altogether ($100,960). So, single buyers in Philadelphia would be
sensible to sacrifice a little space. New York is unsurprisingly among the costliest cities for upgrading, too. Moving from a studio apartment to
a 1-bedroom in New York costs buyers $318,016 on average, with space at a premium in the Big Apple. Las Vegas offers the lowest cost for upgrading, with just $621 extra investment allowing buyers to make the
move from a studio to a 1-bedroom home a worthwhile jump.
Average Joe, homeowner? House prices are rising in the US but are they pricing single
buyers out of the market? In many of the most popular US cities, the answer is yes. In 32% of cities, single buyers can’t afford to buy either a studio or 1-bedroom home. This is assuming
are only able to afford a home that’s five times their annual salary, as per the industry standard. These cities include San Francisco, New York, Boston, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, Denver, and Las
But are prospective buyers in these cities better off aiming for a studio apartment or 1-bedroom? In most of these eight cities, studio apartments represent greater value for money – with an upgrade to a
1-bedroom home adding significant extra investment. In San Francisco and New York, studio apartments are
over budget by $191,667 and $102,125 respectively. For 1-bedroom homes, this cost more than doubles, to
and $420,141 respectively. The notable exceptions are San Jose and Las Vegas, where upgrading represents just 7% and 3% added
What do you need to earn? So, just how far away are these single buyers from affording a home in the city? Using the rough industry estimate ‘you can afford five times your annual salary’ to plan a house purchase,
we can work out how much residents need to earn to afford a studio or 1-bedroom home. The reality is daunting for those looking to buy in San Francisco, New York and Boston, where single buyers
would have to earn $178,266, $142,383 and $133,351 respectively to afford a 1-bedroom home. Single buyers
also need to earn six figures to afford a 1-bedroom home in San Jose ($111,803).
It’s not quite as bleak in the rest of the country, though. Buyers in Indianapolis only need an $8,362
salary to get on the property ladder with a studio apartment, with a 1-bedroom home requiring a $40,371
salary. Other cities offering achievable homes for those currently earning the minimum full-time salary – $15,000 –
are Jacksonville and Phoenix, where studio apartments require buyers to earn just $12,824 and $13,500
respectively. The most affordable 1-bedroom homes are also available in Jacksonville, where buyers need to earn $29,135. Below we have highlighted just how much over budget a studio and 1-bed is in each U.S. city:
Looking to get on the property ladder? Enter your details below to find out how close you are to
affording a house in your local city.
“Our findings paint a bleak picture for single young professionals dreaming of owning their own home
in certain US cities. “There’s no doubt those with a foot on the property ladder sleep sounder at night without these
added financial worries. However, it’s not all bad news, with cities like Indianapolis, Phoenix, and
Jacksonville proving much more affordable for single buyers. “And with modern remote working trends only becoming more popular, we are hopeful greater
opportunities will open up for single professionals to own properties in these affordable areas.”
We used a sample list of the top 25 most populated cities in the U.S.
Each city from our sample was entered individually into Realtor.com.
We used data scraping software to collate the average house price and cost
per square foot from all current listings for both studios and 1-bedroom homes separately. All regional average salary data was obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. The ‘Real Estate Affordability Calculator’ works on the assumption that buyers can borrow up to five times their annual salary.
We also used this assumption to work out how much single buyers would need to earn to afford the current
average price of a studio and a 1 bedroom home in their city.