Struggling to make rent each month? You’re not alone. Though financial experts suggest spending no more than 30% of your monthly income on housing, half of the 43 million Americans who rent an apartment are paying more than that to their landlord, according to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.
It’s not just residents of big coastal cities or lower-income people who are confronting too-high prices when they set out to rent an apartment. In some cities — including Denver, Minneapolis, Chicago, Salt Lake City, and Austin — 50% or more of middle-income renters (those with incomes between $30,000 and $45,000) are devoting more than 30% of their paychecks to rent, the center found. Among lower earners across the United States, between 75% and 84% are stuck in housing that’s not affordable.
So, how much are people really paying in rent? In several major U.S. cities, including New York and San Francisco, average rent for a one-bedroom apartment tops $2,500 a month, according to the April 2017 National Rent Report from real estate website Zumper. To put that in perspective, you’d need a household income in the six figures if you wanted to spend no more than 30% of your income on rent in either city.
So where can renters without that kind of cash live?
Where are the affordable cities?
Nonetheless, there are still a handful of U.S. cities where rent is fairly cheap. In Houston, Nashville, Milwaukee, Phoenix, and Las Vegas, the median price for a one-bedroom apartment is under $1,000, per Zumper’s analysis of more than 1 million active listings in the 50 biggest U.S. cities.
In some cities, rent is even lower. You might not be able to live in the most desirable neighborhood or get top-of-the-line appliances in your kitchen, but you should be able to snag budget-friendly digs without too much trouble.
If you want to rent an apartment for cheap, head to one of these 15 metro areas, where the median price for a one-bedroom is around $600 a month.
15. Augusta, Georgia
In Augusta, the median price for a one-bedroom in April 2017 was $620, down slightly from the previous month. Year over year, rental rates have dropped 4.6% in this southern city.
What you can get: A one-bedroom loft-style apartment in the city’s Old Town neighborhood and a few blocks from the Savannah River for $645 a month. The unit has a fireplace and hardwood floors.
14. Oklahoma City
About $610 – or less — should get you one-bedroom digs in the biggest city in Oklahoma. Rents were 5% cheaper in April 2017 than they were at the same time the previous year.
What you can get: One-bedroom units in this complex in the Fox Run neighborhood start at $549 per month. Units have washer/dryer connections, and some come with fireplaces. The building also has a pool and 24-hour fitness center.
13. Albuquerque, New Mexico
The biggest city in New Mexico also had some of the cheapest rents in the country. The typical one-bedroom unit went for $600 a month. Prices barely budged from 2016 to 2017.
What you can get: A no-frills one-bedroom apartment in the La Mesa neighborhood for $509 per month. The 500-square-foot unit has private front courtyard and a walk-in closet.
12. Greensboro, North Carolina
In Greensboro, the average one-bedroom apartment rented for $600 a month. It’s a good time to be a renter in this city because prices have dropped almost 12% compared to April 2016, according to Zumper.
What you can get: A renovated one-bedroom apartment in the Fisher Park neighborhood for $575 a month. It has granite countertops in the kitchen and hardwood floors, and it is close to parks and not far from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro campus.
11. Tucson, Arizona
In Tucson, the median price for a one-bedroom was $600, down about 3% from the previous month. Year over year, however, rental rates have increased 9% in this desert city.
What you can get: One-bedroom apartments rent for between $540 and $623 a month at this complex in Tuscon’s Dietz neighborhood. Units have balconies and hardwood floors, and the complex has a pool and fitness center. It’s about a 15-minute drive from Saguaro National Park.
10. Indianapolis, Indiana
If you have $590, you can find a one-bedroom apartment in Indianapolis. Prices are climbing, though. The median rent in Indiana’s capital city in April was up 3.5% from the previous month and was 5.4% higher than it was in 2016.
What you can get: A one-bedroom for $545 a month in a vintage building in the city’s Near Northside neighborhood. Apartments have parquet floors and the building is close to downtown.
9. Lubbock, Texas
One-bedroom apartments go for a $580 per month on average in this Texas city. But prices are creeping upward. Rents were 5.5% higher in April than they were in March and up 9.4% from 2016.
What you can get: A one-bedroom apartment in the Coronado area for $590 a month. The 650-square-foot apartment has a dishwasher, balcony, and in-unit laundry. The building has a pool.
8. Memphis, Tennessee
In Memphis, you can rent an apartment for $580 per month, on average. That’s a saving of almost 11% compared to 2016. Upgrading to a two-bedroom unit won’t cost you that much more, either. Those go for an average of $630 a month.
What you can get: A one-bedroom unit in the desirable Cooper-Young neighborhood is a steal at $450 per month. The apartment is a five-minute walk from bars and restaurants, such as Hammer & Ale, which features local beers, and Imagine Vegan Café.
7. Shreveport, Louisiana
Apartments in Shreveport cost $580 per month on average. But if you want a deal, look for a two-bedroom. While rents for smaller units climbed slightly from March to April, average rent for a large unit fell 4.5% to $640 per month.
What you can get: A one-bedroom unit in a complex with a dog park, swimming pool, and clubhouse. The apartment is across the street from Cross Lake and is close to the freeway.
6. Tulsa, Oklahoma
Apartments in the second Oklahoma city on this list went for $570 per month on average. Rents for a one-bedroom in Tulsa fell 6.6% from April 2016 to April 2017.
What you can get: One-bedroom units in this health and fitness-oriented community start at $519 per month. The complex features a swimming pool, tennis courts, and a fitness center and is close to parks, shopping, and restaurants.
5. Detroit, Michigan
For $540, you can rent an apartment in the Motor City. Rents in Detroit climbed about 2% from March to April.
What you can get: A one-bedroom in the Trocadaro Apartments, which was designed in 1928 and is on the National Register of Historic Places, for $525. The building is part of the Palmer Park Apartment District, a triangle-shaped neighborhood full of vintage apartments overlooking Palmer Park.
4. Akron, Ohio
A one-bedroom apartment in Akron costs $530 per month, on average. Rents were flat year over year.
What you can get: A studio apartment in a vintage building in the quirky Highland Square neighborhood for $500 a month. The apartment is close to amenities, such as Chop & Swizzle, a trendy cocktail bar; Diamond Grille, a classic white-tablecloth steak restaurant; and Time Traveler Records.
3. Wichita, Kansas
In Wichita, the median rent for a one-bedroom $520. However, rents are climbing in this affordable Midwestern city. The average price of a one-bedroom was 15.6% higher in April 2017 than a year earlier, one of the biggest increases of any U.S. city.
What you can get: A one-bedroom apartment in Wichita’s Historic Midtown neighborhood for $500 a month. The building is in a walkable neighborhood and close to restaurants and city parks overlooking the Little Arkansas River.
2. Fort Wayne, Indiana
Fort Wayne was one of two cities on Zumper’s list where the average apartment cost less than $500 per month. In this Indiana city, you can rent a one-bedroom unit for $480 per month on average.
What you can get: A one-bedroom attic apartment for $450 per month in the Pettit-Rudisill neighborhood. The unit has a shared backyard and an in-unit laundry, and dogs and cats are both allowed.
1. Toledo, Ohio
The cheapest city for renters in the U.S. is Toledo. The average one-bedroom in the city goes for $460 per month. Two-bedrooms costs $560 per month on average.
What you can get: A one-bedroom unit in the Southwyck neighborhood for $449 per month. The 650-square-foot apartment has a private patio and is close to restaurants and the Swan Creek Preserve.
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