VERIFY: Did a Forbes article get Austin's rent wrong?

We all know Rent in Austin can be painful - but according to Forbes.com - the median rent for young professionals is less than $500 dollars. Sound too good to be true?

AUSTIN - In May, Forbes published an article on their website titled: "The Best Cities For Young Professionals 2017."

Austin combined with Round Rock, landed 15th on the list which measured the median salaries of recent grads, the median rent as a share of that median salary, the unemployment rate, projected job growth, adults with Bachelor's degrees or higher, and how much of the population was in the 20-29 age bracket.

The Forbes article explained, in a separate piece, how they achieved their numbers. 

Austin was listed as having a median salary of $51,800 for recent grads - a number verified by using Forbes' source Payscale.com

The Median rent as a share of the median salary was listed at 10 percent - or $5,180 total per year. When broken down into monthly payments, it equals roughly $430 a month -- a number many Austinites would struggle to believe. 

The article says the numbers were pulled from Apartment List.com. KVUE reporter Jason Puckett also pulled the numbers from the site for Austin and Round Rock and got a different set of numbers. Using the June numbers, the monthly rent came out to $730 or 17 percent of the median salary. 

To make sure the numbers weren't outdated, Jason requested the same numbers from Apartment List for both regions in 2017.

In January, the Median rent for Round Rock and Austin was $657.50 or 15.2 percent of the salary

  • In February, it was $640 or 14.8 percent
  • March was $637.50 or 14.7 percent
  • April was $645 or 14.9 percent
  • May was $650 or 15 percent of the median salary

KVUE was unable to recreate a situation at any point in 2017 where the median rent was 10 percent of the median salary number. 

Forbes told KVUE in a statement the inaccuracy in the numbers was due to an error importing the data. 
The business site went on to add that the error affected several cities on their original list. They've since rewritten the article with the corrected numbers and cities, which you can view here.

Find their updated methodology here.

Read the full statement below: 

Thank you for covering Forbes’ list of the Best Cities For Young Professionals 2017. Yesterday, we were made aware of an inaccuracy in our story. We found that due to an error importing data, the initial version of this list was incorrect and some of the statistics cited regarding individual metro areas were incorrect.

Seven metro areas that appeared in the top 25 in the initial version of our list dropped off in the current, corrected version: Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, Mich.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas; Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, Calif; Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla.; St. Louis; Charleston-North Charleston, S.C.

These were replaced by: Dallas-Plano-Irving; Washington-Arlington, Alexandria; Cambridge-Newton-Framingham, Mass.; Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro, Tenn.; Grand Rapids-Wyoming, Mich.; Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y.; and Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Ore.-Wash. A corrected version is now live on our website.

For the assertion that Austin's median rent is 10 percent of its median salary, KVUE can verify that claim is false.

Sources

Payscale: Salary information

Apartment List: Median rent values

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© 2017 KVUE-TV


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