Skip to Content

The Most Expensive and Cheapest Cities to Rent an Apartment

Apartment living isn’t cheap – and where you choose to live can make a big difference.

GoBankingRates has put together a study of what the average one-bedroom apartment costs in 50 cities around the country – and the range is pretty extraordinary. More than $3,000 per month separates the most expensive and cheapest cities. And you’re much less likely to have a dishwasher, pool, fitness center or parking in that more expensive complex.

The median average rent across the cities surveyed was $1,234, says the site. And the average one-bedroom came in at 678 square feet – roughly one-quarter the size of a tennis double’s court. (Like prices, average sizes vary by city. For instance, in Louisville, KY, the average square footage is 807 square feet, but it’s just 461 sq. ft. in Portland, OR.)

While the study did break down cities by price, it noted that there’s a lot more to apartment living than how much it costs you. Are you close to work? What are the amenities like? Is there parking – or do you even need to worry about a car? Ultimately, you’ll have to determine how important each of these criteria is to you. But if you’re focused entirely on the bottom line, here are the cheapest and most expensive cities.

Cheapest cities (as judged by median rent for a one-bedroom apartment)
1) Wichita, KA – $470
2) Cleveland, Ohio – $525
3) Detroit – $550
4) Tucson, AZ – $559.50
5) El Paso, TX – $599
6) Oklahoma City, OK – $650
7) St. Louis, MO – $700
8) Albuquerque, NM – $715
9) Indianapolis, IN – $732
10) Colorado Springs, CO, Milwaukee, WI, Louisville, KY, Columbus, OH (tied)- $750

Not surprisingly, the most expensive cities are the ones you would expect – San Francisco, San Jose and New York. In northern California, thanks to the tech boom, the Bay area has gotten so ridiculously expensive that even Silicon Valley prodigies are finding the prices hard to swallow. (One designer currently pays $508 per month to live in a box.)

Most expensive cities
1) San Francisco, CA – $3,600
2) San Jose, CA – $2,536
3) New York, NY – $2,200
4) Washington, DC – $2,172
5) Boston, MA – $2,025
6) Los Angeles, CA – $2,014
7) Miami, FL – $2,000
8) Pittsburgh, PA – $1,850
9) Seattle, WA (tie) – $1,795
9) Honolulu, HA (tie) – $1,795
10 ) San Diego – $1,760