Housing

This Is the Cheapest City to Rent an Apartment

As housing prices have boomed, so have the price of apartments — in most places. People who have fled big cities like New York and San Francisco en mass, due partially to the COVID-19 pandemic, have driven rents down for the first time in decades. However, rents in these cities remain high compared to national averages.

Many people weigh whether it is better to rent a house or apartment rather than owning one. Homeowners can build equity, unless home prices fall as they did in 2007 and 2008. Homeowners also have the expenses of property taxes, and they have to pay for their own repairs. Apartment renters can move quickly. Most expenses belong to the landlord.

A new study shows that whether people decide to rent or buy, renting is more expensive in most cities. A study of the 335 largest cities by Hire a Helper showed that “In 333 out of 335 cities studied, homeowners spend less of their income on accommodation than renters.” The research looked at prices and disposable income. Typical homeowners spend 20% of their income on housing. The typical renter nationwide spends 32%.

The study points out that California has nine of the top 10 cities based on monthly rentals. This should be no surprise. Many of these cities also have the highest median income in America, driven largely by the tech industry. Two large cities are on this list: San Francisco and San Jose.

The city with the lowest rent in America is Gadsden, Alabama, with an average rent of $400. The city at the top of the list of 355 is Sunnyvale, California, at $2,600.

Gadsden has approximately 35,000 residents. Thirty-seven percent of the population is Black, and another 54% is white. The poverty rate is astonishingly high at 27%, well over twice the national average. The median household income of $32,642 is less than half the national number. Gadsden rents are cheap for a reason. Very few people have much money.

Click here to read about the least expensive Zip code in America.