15 Least-Expensive Cities for Renters

Spending less on rent can add some breathing room to your monthly budget significantly.

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Updated July 18, 2024
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Renting is one way to keep a roof over your head. With high interest rates, buying a house with a mortgage is often a large financial hurdle. Based on the financial burden of home buying, it’s not surprising that the number of people who rent is increasing.

If you prefer to rent but don’t want to stretch your budget, the right location can make all the difference. Some cities offer renters more affordable options than others.

A FinanceBuzz study found these 15 cities to be the least expensive to rent in, based on the percentage of monthly income that goes toward housing. Some cities with low rent prices are not on this list because the median income in the city balances out the lower rental cost.

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15. Gilbert, Arizona

Jenifoto/Adobe desert sunset with mountain phoenix

Gilbert is a Phoenix suburb with relatively affordable rent rates. Gilbert residents earn an average of $111,393 per household, and the average price of a rental is $1,801. On average, renters put 22% of their income toward rent each month.

14. St. Paul, Minnesota

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe saint paul minnesota

St. Paul, Minnesota, residents earn an average household income of $67,725. With an average rental price of $1,431 per month, residents of this Twin City spend an average of 22% of their income on rent.

13. Madison, Wisconsin

nejdetduzen/Adobe wisconsin state capitol building in madison-city

Madison residents earn an average of $73,647 per household. The average rent is $1,677 per month, which means residents spend an average of 21% of their income on rent each month.

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12. Durham, North Carolina

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Durham residents earn an average of $78,105 per household, and rent costs an average of $1,548 per month. Thus, they spend around 21% of their income on rent.

11. Toledo, Ohio

Anthony/Adobe toledo ohio skyline

Toledo residents earn an average of $47,365. However, the average rent is a relatively low $895 per month. Thus, residents spend an average of 21% of their income on rent.

10. Boise, Idaho

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe Boise Idaho Downtown streets with traffic

Residents of Idaho’s capital city earn an average of $81,425 and face average rent prices of $1,605 per month. Based on these numbers, renters who call Boise home spend an average of 20% of their income on rent.

9. Indianapolis, Indiana

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe iconic indianapolis roundabout with skyline

Renters in Indianapolis pay an average of $1,195 per month for a place to stay. Indianapolis residents earn an average of $61,501, which means renters put an average of 20% of their income toward rent in this city.

8. Plano, Texas

Victoria/Adobe luxury living community

Outside of Dallas, Plano residents pay an average of $1,736 monthly rent. With an average household income of $103,916, Plano renters find an average of 20% of their income consumed by rent each month.

7. Omaha, Nebraska

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe omaha nebraska usa

Omaha residents face average rent rates of $1,209 per month. On average, households in Omaha earn $67,450 per month. With that, renters in Omaha put an average of 20% of their income toward rent each month.

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6. Huntsville, Alabama

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe huntsville alabama usa skyline

Residents of the Rocket City earn an average household income of $68,930. With average rental prices sitting at $1,191 per month, renters are putting 19% of their income toward rent each month in Huntsville.

5. Lincoln, Nebraska

Randy Runtsch/Adobe nebraska state capitol

Residents of Nebraska's capital city earn an average of $62,391, and the average rent price is $1,237 per month. With that, Lincoln residents allocate approximately 19% of their income toward rent each month.

4. Louisville, Kentucky

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe louisville kentucky skyline on ohio river

Bourbon City sits on the banks of the Ohio River. Residents earn an average of $63,049 and pay an average of $1,247 in rent. On average, renters in Louisville spent 19% of their monthly income on rent.

3. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

The average cost of rent in Oklahoma City is $991, which makes it one of the cheapest places to rent on this list. With residents earning an average of $63,713, renters use approximately 19% of their household income on rent.

2. Wichita, Kansas

David/Adobe Keeper of the Plains Sculpture Bridge over Arkansas River Wichita Kansas

Renters in Wichita enjoy average rental rates well below $1,000, an average of $876 per month, to be exact. Residents in the city earn an average of $59,277, which means renters spend around 18% of their income to pay rent.

1. Anchorage, Alaska

Rocky Grimes/Adobe Anchorage Skyline

Anchorage is the only city on this list outside of the continental U.S., and it might surprise you to learn that it’s the cheapest place to rent. 

With residents earning an average of $100,751 and facing average rental rates of $1,413, renters spend around 16% of their income to pay rent.

Bottom line

ABCreative/Adobe drinking coffee in their new apartment

Renting gives you a space to call home. While you can find relatively cheap rent in select cities, it’s not always practical to pick up and move.

If you aren’t able to navigate to a more affordable city, boosting your income can help you pay the rent without stretching too far. 

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Sarah Sharkey

Sarah Sharkey is a personal finance writer who enjoys diving into the details to help readers make more informed decisions. She covers mortgages, insurance, money management, travel, and more.