with a fresh report aimed at helping renters stretch their income. A bigger paycheck in a new city? That’s always a good upgrade, but there’s more to consider when it comes to relocating. The balance between income and expenses is what truly helps renters be better off financially when moving to a new city.  

LEARN MORE: Phoenix ranks 10th in office-to-apartment conversions

To uncover where renters can stretch their dollars the furthest, we analyzed key metrics like income and rent, as well as essential costs across 189 U.S. cities. 

Surprise ranks as the second-best city in the nation where renters can get the most out of their income, thanks to stellar income-to-expenses ratios, with Scottsdale coming in 7th. Plus, Arizona offers another prime location for renters seeking financial stability: Phoenix, which ranks as the 34th U.S. city where renters are left with a big chunk of their paycheck after rent and essential expenses are paid. 

Here are the highlights: 

  • Surprise boasts the fourth best income-to-rent ratio in the country. With an annual median income of $86,236 — the seventh-highest annual median income in the country — renters here only spend a small portion of their earnings to cover the average monthly rent of $1,781. By comparison, Scottsdale’s median income of $82,865 relative to an average rent of $2,084 secures the 24th position among the best income-to-rent ratios. Phoenix ranks 46th in this category.  
  • Surprise boasts a stellar income-to-expenses ratio, with disposable income far outweighing the costs for essentials like food ($59), healthcare ($269), transportation ($41) and goods and services ($183) — all of which are below the national average. In fact, these expenses are the lowest in the state.  
  • In Surprise, the cost of utilities (averaging $452, which is 22% higher than the national average) takes the biggest toll on the budget. However, to cover this expense, renters only allocate a small portion of their income (ranking 8th nationwide). Scottsdale alsohas an excellent income-to-expenses ratio — even with higher costs for healthcare ($377) and goods and services ($259) — which contributes to its ranking in the top 10. 
  • In Phoenix, renters’ income is lower ($54,852) and it stretches less than in its suburbs. However, the income-to-expenses ratio in Phoenix is still better than in most of the country. By comparison, renters in Tucson or Flagstaff face greater challenges in balancing their income with essential expenses.