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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Tucson ranks high among most affordable living, best places to rent

Zi Yang Lai
Hub At Tucson, an apartment complex popular among UA students, on Sept. 14, 2015. Tucson rental prices are among the most reasonable in the country.

The cost of attending the UA is much more than just paying tuition. Housing is one of the largest investments many Wildcats will make.

But before we all go joining the Rent is Too Damn High Party and backing Jimmy McMillan’s 2016 presidential bid, let’s all recognize how cheap living in Tucson really is.

Tucson actually ranks well among America’s most affordable housing markets. Tucson’s affordability not only appeals to students, but also to retirees.

Forbes ranked it among the 25 best places to retire in 2015, citing a cost of living 9 percent below the national average.

Rental prices also provide a comparison for trends in house prices. San Francisco makes the top of the list at $940 per square foot. Tucson remains on the more affordable side of the list at just $111 per square foot.

The 2016 rent index for Tucson is 21.59, which means it’s cheap.

This value means that average rental price in Tucson is 21.59 percent of the average rental price in New York City, according to’s Cost of Living Index for 2016.

The index uses the Big Apple as the baseline, meaning the rent index in New York City is 100. Essentially, the lower the number, the cheaper the living costs in that city.

San Francisco tops the index as the most expensive place to rent. The median price for a one-bedroom apartment within 10 miles of the city was $3,096 as of February 2016. The average price of a one-bedroom in Tucson is $599, according to

A person could rent five apartments in Tucson for the price of one San Francisco apartment.

Even Las Vegas has a higher average rent cost than Tucson.

An apartment within 10 miles of the heart of the Strip costs almost 9 percent more than its Tucson equivalent.

The Cost of Living Index provides an average for each city. For Tucson, that average covers quite a spectrum of living arrangements, from the $1,600 luxury penthouse apartments at places like Sol y Luna and the Hub At Tucson, all the way down to $380 apartments located further from campus at places like University Villa Apartments.

Rental season causes many people to gripe, but renters should be aware of how low Tucson rent actually is.

Follow Brice Lennon on Twitter.

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