October 27, 2021

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Most & Least Expensive US Cities to Rent an Apartment

3 min read

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Rent always seems to be going up. When you’re renting, that can feel like the only trend that exists. You may have a sense of what friends and coworkers are paying for their rent, but it’s hard to get a feel for how your rent compares to what you’d be paying if you moved to, say, Nashville or Miami. 

HowMuch.net has pulled together data from Apartment Guide’s February 2021 Rent Report to create a map that contextualizes rent across the US. The difference between cities can be significant. Over a full year, the difference between the average rent on a two-bedroom apartment in New York City (the most expensive on the list) and Wichita, Kansas (the cheapest) is tens of thousands of dollars. 

The data presents the price for a “typical” two-bedroom apartment in each city. The prices are based on Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rentals in the most populated urban areas of the country. Though, that group extends from the nation’s largest city through cities with about a quarter of a million people like Fort Wayne, Indiana. 

The prices are interesting, but they do not exist in a vacuum. Just because your Boston apartment costs too much doesn’t mean that it’s possible to just pick up and move to Toledo, Ohio. (Though, with some jobs moving toward long-term remote work, maybe that’s more possible for some individuals than it has been in the past.) Broadly speaking, the most expensive apartments tend to be in the nation’s largest cities, and the cheapest markets are in smaller cities. 

Of course, there are exceptions. San Antonio, Texas has the seventh-largest population in the country but ranks 17th among the cheapest rents. Meanwhile, Jersey City, New Jersey, and Scottsdale, Arizona rank 80th and 84th in population, respectively, but sit among the most expensive places to rent. 

Here are the top ten most expensive and least expensive places to rent a two-bedroom apartment, according to data from Apartment Guide. You can find the top 25 list inside the Rent Report. 

Most expensive:
1. New York City, New York ($4,927)
2. Boston, Massachusetts ($4,728)
3. Los Angeles, California ($4,514)
4. San Francisco, California ($4,084)
5. Jersey City, New Jersey ($3,821)
6. Oakland, California ($3,305)
7. San Diego, California ($3,232)
8. Chicago, Illinois ($3,065)
9. San Jose, California ($3,034)
10. Scottsdale, Arizona ($3,020)

Least expensive:
1. Wichita, Kansas ($763)
2. Lubbock, Texas ($875)
3. Tulsa, Oklahoma ($898)
4. Fresno, California ($942)
5. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma ($944)
6. Toledo, Ohio ($949)
7. Greensboro, North Carolina ($1,026)
8. Gilbert, Arizona ($1,029)
9. Tucson, Arizona ($1,044)
10. Fort Wayne, Indiana ($1,077)
 

HowMuch.net’s map focuses on the two-bedroom apartment data, but the Rent Report also pulls out the average price on a one-bedroom. There are slight shifts in the order between the two lists. Here are the most and least expensive cities to rent a one-bedroom apartment. 

Most expensive:
1. Boston, Massachusetts ($3,454)
2. New York City, New York ($3,061)
3. San Francisco, California ($3,031)
4. Oakland, California ($2,734)
5. Los Angeles, California ($2,715)
6. Jersey City, New Jersey ($2,569)
7. Miami, Florida ($2,428)
8. San Jose, California ($2,418)
9. San Diego, California ($2,400)
10. Santa Ana, California ($2,300)

Least expensive:
1. Lubbock, Texas ($692)
2. Wichita, Kansas ($711)
3. Tulsa, Oklahoma ($764)
4. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma ($772)
5. Tucson, Arizona ($837)
6. Greensboro, North Carolina ($839)
7. El Paso, Texas ($852)
8. Corpus Christi, Texas ($859)
9. Fort Wayne, Indiana ($875)
10. Toledo, Ohio ($926)

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer at Thrillist. Follow Dustin Nelson on Twitter.

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