9 U.S. Cities That Still Have Cheap Rent

published Feb 2, 2024
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If you’re looking to build up your savings account, pay down some debt, or just free up more of your paycheck to spend on other things, one obvious place to start is spending less money on your rent.

But finding cheap places to rent in the U.S. these days is not an easy feat — especially if you’re still seeking big or mid-sized city living. Although prices are starting to come down as more new apartments hit the market, renters are still spending a hefty portion of their income on rent. In November, the median household income spent on rent across the U.S. was 29.5 percent, according to the latest stats from Zillow. (The median is the halfway point between the highest and lowest numbers.)

What does that look like in dollars and cents? Nationally, the median rent for a one-bedroom is still $1,496. The median rent for a two-bedroom, meanwhile, comes in at $1,847, according to the most recent analysis from rental marketplace Zumper

Even so, you can still find a few pockets of affordability around the country, if you know where to look. If you’re looking for a change of scenery — and you’re trying to save some money in the process — you’ll have the best luck finding cheap places to rent in the U.S. in the Midwest and the South.

“With a surge in construction, these areas are hitting a sweet spot, aligning costs more closely with incomes,” says Emily McDonald, a rental trends expert at Zillow. “What’s more, the rise of remote work and tech jobs means these cities are no longer just affordable options, but also vibrant hubs for those embracing the work-from-anywhere culture. They’re not just about savings anymore — they’re about lifestyle flexibility and a fresh, dynamic energy.”

And if you are hoping to save up and make a big move soon, now is the time to do it —regardless of where you’re looking. By moving during the cold-weather months, you might be able to lock in a cheaper rent, even in a locale that’s typically expensive.

“Winter months are typically the slowest for moves, with demand and competition at the lowest of the year, and property owners are eager to fill vacancies by often offering reduced prices or concessions,” says Crystal Chen, a spokeswoman for Zumper.

Ready to relocate? Save money each month by considering one of these cheap places to rent in the U.S.

Memphis, Tennessee

Love live music and barbecue? Consider pointing your moving truck toward Memphis, where the nightlife scene is thriving and the food is mouth-wateringly good. Apartments are also cheap: The median rent is just $900 for a one-bedroom, according to Zumper.

Austin, Texas

Remote workers and techies flocked to Austin during the pandemic, but now the city’s rental market is starting to cool off slightly. It’s still not cheap compared to other U.S. cities, but if you’ve always wanted to move to the Lone Star State, now may be the time to finally do it. According to Zillow’s stats, the median household income spent on rent is just 20.9 percent — well below the national median of 29.5 percent.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Nestled against the foothills of the Sandia Mountains — which glow pink every night at sunset — Albuquerque has bustling aerospace, bioscience, and renewable energy industries. No matter what job you get, you’ll hold on to more of your hard-earned money each month. Per Zumper’s stats, the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $950.

Omaha, Nebraska

Beloved by billionaire investor Warren Buffett, Omaha is brimming with friendly, down-to-earth Nebraskans who will gladly welcome you into their community. If you decide to move to the Cornhusker State’s largest city, you’ll pay a median rent of $920 for a one-bedroom, according to Zumper.

Buffalo, New York

Come for Niagara Falls and the Buffalo wings, stay for the cheap rent. Buffalo’s median one-bedroom rent is $1,080, according to Zumper. And the city’s median household income spent on rent is just 20.4 percent, per Zillow.

Kansas City, Missouri

If it’s good enough for Taylor Swift and her beau, Travis Kelce, it’s good enough for us. Pro football and pop stars aside, Kansas City apartments offer a good bargain: The median rent for a one-bedroom is just $1,090, according to Zumper.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis — and the broader Twin Cities region — is booming with jobs in advanced manufacturing, life sciences, technology, finance, food, and agriculture. And when you venture north to the Gopher State, you’ll spend less of your paycheck on rent: The median household income spent on rent is just 20.4 percent, per Zillow.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City — the capital of the Sooner State — has vibrant neighborhoods, top-notch museums, and jobs aplenty in fields ranging from aviation to telecommunications. Despite the high quality of life, rent remains affordable, with a median price of just $850 for a one-bedroom, according to Zumper.

Houston, Texas

Mild weather, easy access to the Gulf Coast, and a strong economy make Houston an appealing option for many renters. And the relatively lost cost of living doesn’t hurt, either. According to the latest figures from Zumper, the median rent for a one-bedroom in Houston is $1,220.