Another Top-10 (and Bottom-10) List — How Much Rent Would Be Expressed in Turkey Dinners

The number of renters today is at an all-time record. From a percentage perspective, today there are more renters than any time in the past 50 years.

Since the housing bubble burst and the corresponding recovery, residential rents have gone no place but up. Not all markets are equal, however. Demand and supply rule when it comes to rents and prices, but a multitude of variables impact those two factors. Once again I invoke the TINSTAANREM clause — There Is No Such Thing As A National Real Estate Market. Each real estate market is different.

So how much do apartment rents vary across the country? To answer that, Apartment List, a national online source for apartment listings that draws more than 2.5 million renters to their site monthly, each Thanksgiving converts local market rents to the number of equivalent turkey dinners. Apartment List’s Turkey Index states individual market rents as If Americans Paid Rent in Turkey Dinners.

Apartment List estimated the cost of a typical dinner this year to be $51.50, up 1.6 percent from a year ago. Included in that dinner were:

  • Turkey
  • Stuffing
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Pie

The average turkey dinner price was adjusted for each individual market’s comparative food expense via a grocery cost index. Apartment List then divided the city-specific rent for a two-bedroom apartment by the corresponding dinner cost, arriving at the Turkey Index. Included in their study were 204 markets.

So what rental markets cost the most Turkey Dinners per month and which ones cost the least? Based on Apartment List’s findings, the most Turkey Dinners equivalent are in the first table. Note that the most expensive monthly rent does not necessarily directly correlate to the most turkey dinner equivalents. While San Francisco has the greatest monthly rent, after adjusting for grocery costs, New York City ended up requiring more turkey dinners to pay rent.

The second table shows the markets requiring the fewest Turkey dinners.

11-24-16 table

To read the entire Apartment list article and the Turkey Index rankings of 204 markets across the country click

I imagine the only groups in the country that would prefer that rent be paid in Turkey dinners would be turkey, potato and pumpkin farmers along with restaurateurs.

Kudos and thanks to Apartment List for the annual comparison that makes us look at what is typically a household’s greatest monthly expense in a different perspective.

Also, for those of you on the lookout for a great blog, take a look at Apartment List’s research and findings at

Great and safe Thanksgiving to all y’all.


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