The Cheapest Places to Rent a House in America
Renting a home can be pricy. It's probably one of your biggest monthly expenses, and the cost keeps going up. In the past year, rent has increased by more than 20 percent in some cities, according to Apartment Guide.
But there are still plenty of places with affordable homes to rent — you just have to know where to look. To help in your rental home search, we've found the cheapest places to rent a house.
Finding the cheapest places to rent a house
The metros that made our list of the cheapest places to rent a house have the lowest median rental prices, the lowest rental price per square foot and plenty of rentals available. Almost all of the places in the top 10 are located in the South, and Florida and Texas each have two cities on the list.
So, where are the 10 cheapest places to rent a house? Try one of these metro areas.
9 (tied). Cleveland, OH
Located on the shores of Lake Erie, Cleveland has undergone extensive revitalization over the past few years. That's attracted families, young professionals and entrepreneurs seeking opportunities in the city's health care and tech industries, specifically.
Still, Cleveland's cost of living remains lower than other metros of its size, and affordable housing is abundant. Median rent prices are $1,250 and average about 89 cents per square foot.
9 (tied). Augusta, GA
Augusta is likely best known among golf fanatics as the home of the Masters Tournament. Though, it's also a mid-sized city located on the South Carolina border with a suburban vibe, lots of nature activities, a vibrant art scene and a low cost of living.
Rental homes in Augusta, Georgia's second-largest metro, average $1,250 a month and 77 cents a square foot. The inexpensive rents and affordability have made the city a popular place with retirees and families.
7 (tied). Louisville, KY
It may be known as the home of the Kentucky Derby and bourbon country, but Louisville is also one of the cheapest places to rent a home. Rent prices average $1,200. Most rental homes go for 90 cents per square foot, and there are hundreds of properties available.
Affordable housing and low cost of living are drawing residents to Kentucky, especially its metros. Jefferson County, home to Louisville, saw its population rise by 5.3 percent over the past 10 years.
7 (tied). Beaumont, TX
Located in southeastern Texas near the Gulf Coast, Beaumont and the surrounding cities of Port Arthur and Orange are collectively known as the Golden Triangle, a name dating back to the area's oil boom of the early 1900s. Today, the metro has a bustling natural gas and petrochemical industry.
Residents' dollars stretch a little further in Beaumont. There's no state income tax in Texas, and there are plenty of inexpensive rental homes. Rent prices average $1,200 a month, with most homes priced around 79 cents a square foot.
Homosassa, located along Florida's Gulf Coast, is popular with vacationers, hoping to spot manatees at the Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. Residents of the community of about 2,000 people enjoy a suburban-rural and affordable lifestyle.
Renters in Homosassa can find many inexpensive places to live. Most will pay an average of $1,195 a month, with most rental homes going for about $1 a square foot.
Arkansas' capital city is an affordable place to live and offers an abundance of activities for outdoors lovers. As a result, Little Rock has experienced a nearly 5 percent population growth over the past decade and is now home to nearly 200,000 residents.
Little Rock and North Little Rock, its neighboring city across the Arkansas River, feature several unique neighborhoods with inexpensive rental homes. Renters can expect to pay 73 cents a square foot, with rent in the city averaging about $1,100.
3 (tied). Ocala, FL
This central Florida city of about 60,000 people is one of the best places to retire and one of the fastest-growing places to live, according to U.S. News & World Report. Ocala boasts equestrian roots and is home to vast pastures and horse farms, and it's where many racehorses go to train.
Ocala's cost of living is low, and Florida residents don't pay income tax. There are also several suburban neighborhoods with affordable homes to rent. Rental homes go for 83 cents a square foot and rent in the city averages $1,000 a month.
3 (tied). Hickory, NC
Hickory and nearby cities Lenoir and Morganton are often referred to as the Catawba Valley, and the area has been working on a $90 million revitalization plan aimed at improving quality of life and job and economic development.
The area has been luring young professionals away from North Carolina's larger cities lately, as companies like Apple and Google have set up shop there. It's also one of the cheapest places to live in the country. Rental homes go for about $1,000 a month, and most rental property is priced at 80 cents a square foot.
2. Lubbock, TX
Located in northwestern Texas, Lubbock has been growing in more ways than one. The population of Lubbock County grew 11.4 percent over the past decade, and the city has seen jobs and economic growth. Lubbock has also been praised for the work-life balance it offers residents.
Still, the city is an affordable place to live. Texas residents don't pay income tax, and expenses, including rent, are low. Renters can expect to pay around $990 a month on average for a rental home. Most properties are available for just over 80 cents per square foot.
Located in the Appalachian Mountains' foothills in eastern Tennessee, Greeneville is one of the state's oldest towns. Recently, Greeneville kicked off a revitalization project that will include bringing new businesses downtown and upgrading street lights and other infrastructure.
Residents benefit from the cost of living in Greeneville, which has a population of about 15,000. So, their housing dollar goes a long way. Rental homes are typically available for 71 cents per square foot and average about $763 a month.
Tips for finding an affordable place to rent a home
One of the most important factors in deciding where to live is affordability. Here are some tips for finding an affordable place to rent a home:
- Set a budget. Having a solid understanding of your income and expenses will help you sent a rental budget. Many financial experts say you shouldn't spend more than 30 percent of your income on rent.
- Find out the cost of living. How far will your dollar stretch in a place? Knowing the average prices of rent, utilities, taxes and other expenses in a city is helpful in deciding whether you can afford to live there. There are several online cost of living calculators that can help.
- Learn what the place has to offer. Find out all you can about the strength and stability of a metro's local economy. Does it offer jobs in a diverse set of industries? Are there plenty of job opportunities across different sectors? Talking to a local chamber of commerce or economic development agency can give you these answers.
- Use an online rental home resource. Sites like Rentals.com let you search for rental homes in your price range and in your desired location.
Rent is likely one of your biggest monthly expenses, but many metros offer affordable rental homes for $1,250 or less per month. Knowing where to find the cheapest places to rent a house will help you get the most for your money.
To find the cheapest places to rent a home, we looked back at historical data for all single-family home rentals over the past two years in our Rentals.com database. We then determined a median home value in each core-based statistical area (CBSA). The top and bottom one percent of all listings — based on price and square footage — were excluded to remove any outliers.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any rental property.