What are the cities with the highest rent in the United States? If the area has a warm climate, chances are that it’s probably costly.
Rent.com, an online property rental site, compiled the 100 most expensive cities for renters in the country. Overall, the average price of rent increased between 2021 and 2022, but most of the cities with the most expensive rental rates are located in western or southern U.S. states.
Several of the most expensive cities are also in or near major technology hubs, keeping rents high and apartments in low supply due to the industry’s high salaries and consistent growth during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Rent.com’s report.
The ranking was based on Rent.com’s rental data for one- and two-bedroom units between June 2021 to June 2022. Only cities with populations of 50,000 or higher were included.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 15: A "For Lease" sign is posted in front of a house available for rent on March 15, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. Single-family rental home prices are soaring and increased a record 12.6 percent in January compared
The most expensive cities for renters were also categorized into four regions — the West, the South, the Northeast, and the Midwest — but the results were not divided evenly.
The majority of the cities with the highest rent (58%) are on the West Coast. Out of the top 100 cities, 41% are in California. Another 28% of the most expensive cities for renters are in the South — and a majority of the southern cities (57%) are in Florida.
The Northeast had just 13% of the 100 cities with the highest rent in the U.S., including Bayonne, New Jersey, Boston, Cambridge, and Quincy, Massachusetts.
Only one Midwest city made the top 100 list for expensive rent: Chicago (No. 46 – $2,904 on average).
The 10 most expensive US cities for renters
- Jersey City, New Jersey, which is located across the Hudson River from Manhattan, ranked as the No. 1 city for the highest rent in the United States during the survey period. The average monthly rent in Jersey City increased from $3,308 in 2021 to $5,500 in 2022, according to the report — which is an increase of 66.25%.
- Boston was listed as the second-highest rent in the U.S. with the average rental rate jumping from $4,164 in 2021 to $4,878 in 2022 — a 17.14% annual rent increase.
- Palo Alto, California, saw double-digit rent hikes at 31.34% over the past year, with the average rent in 2022 at $4,672, according to the report.
- Glendale, California, also had a 36.32% percent growth in average rent, with the average amount at $4,472 in 2022.
- Santa Monica, California, ranked fifth on the list with an average monthly cost of $4,357, an increase of 15.07% over 2021.
- Coral Gables, Florida, came in at No. 6, where residents saw rents increase 43.34% year-over-year — paying an average of $4,310 per month in 2022.
- Hoboken, New Jersey, also located across from Manhattan, experienced a 21.46% rental increase on average. Residents were paying $4,264 for rent on average in 2022.
- Redmond, Washington, saw a massive percent increase in rent year-over-year at 86.11%. The average rent there was $4,222.
- San Diego, California, rent increased 25.85% year-over-year, with residents paying an average monthly rent of $4,202.
- Newport Beach, California, rounded out the top 10 most expensive U.S. cities for renters, with an average monthly rent of $4,178 in 2022.
Still more affordable to rent than buy a home in many US cities
Despite skyrocketing rent prices, it’s still less than the monthly costs associated with buying a starter home in most U.S. cities, according to a separate report by Realtor.com.
In its June rental report, Realtor.com said rental rates were up 14.1% over the same time last year — and have hit record levels every month for the past 16 months.
But it noted that in 38 of the 50 largest metros in America, it’s still cheaper to rent than to purchase a starter home. In some cities, buying a home costs over $2,000 a month more than renting, according to the report.
The average cost to buy a starter home across the 50 largest US metros was $2,437 a month in June, 29.9% more than the average listed rent. A year ago, the monthly cost to buy was $1,815, 10.4% more than rent.
Top 10 US metros where it's cheaper to rent than buy
The U.S. cities where it's cheaper to rent than buy a starter home. (Credit: FOX Television Stations)
Austin, Texas, where the monthly cost associated with buying is nearly double the monthly rent cost, ranked No. 1, according to Realtor.com:
- Austin-Round Rock, Texas: median rent, $1,864; monthly buy cost, $3,685
- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif.: median rent, $3,171; monthly buy cost, $5,705
- Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash.: median rent, $2,299; monthly buy cost, $4,100
- New York-Newark-Jersey City, N.Y.-N.J.-Penn.: median rent, $2,989; monthly buy cost, $5,081
- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.: median rent, $3,324; monthly buy cost, $5,499
- Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Ore.-Wash.: median rent, $1,833; monthly buy cost, $2,961
- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, Calif.: median rent, $3,051; monthly buy cost, $4,897
- Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass.-N.H.: median rent, $2,966; monthly buy cost, $4,664
- Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas: median rent, $1,450; monthly buy cost, $2,223
- Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz.: median rent, $1,781; monthly buy cost, $2,709
Top 10 metros where it’s cheaper to buy than rent
The U.S. cities where it's cheaper to buy than rent. (Credit: FOX Television Stations)
The cities most favorable for buying a starter home over renting are all located in the Midwest and South, according to Realtor.com.
- Pittsburgh, Penn.: median rent, $1,583; monthly buy cost, $1,061
- Birmingham-Hoover, Ala.: median rent, $1,278; monthly buy cost, $900
- St. Louis, Mo.-Ill.: median rent, $1,371; monthly buy cost, $1,087
- Cleveland-Elyria, Ohio: median rent, $1,432; monthly buy cost, $1,234
- Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, Md.: median rent, $1,820; monthly buy cost, $1,656
- Louisville-Jefferson County, Ky.-Ind.: median rent, $1,253; monthly buy cost, $1,189
- Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, Va.-N.C.: median rent, $1,581; monthly buy cost, $1,526
- Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, Ind.: median rent, $1,303; monthly buy cost, $1,266
- Cincinnati, Ohio-Ky.-Ind.: median rent, $1,499; monthly buy cost, $1,485
- Kansas City, Mo.-Kan.: median rent, $1,326; monthly buy cost, $1,313
This story was reported from Cincinnati. Heather Miller contributed.