Housing

The Top 15 Cities With the Highest Rent in the U.S.

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Leaving your doorstep nowadays means spending money. Everything you buy seems heavily inflated.  People have described this mega-inflation post-pandemic as feeling like the products we purchase are now all set at ‘airport pricing.’ Of course, real estate costs are drastically up, too.  Way up! Wherever you land on the financial spectrum, having knowledge of the current rental market landscape is prudent for protecting your own security and assets.

As you might suspect, the rental price surge is a supply and demand issue.  Building projects have slowed post-pandemic due to the cost of labor and materials, but the need from desperate consumers couldn’t be stronger. Millennials who cannot afford to buy a home at the typical stage of past generations are now being added to an already hyper-competitive rental market. The hesitancy to build and add to the housing need is causing a bottleneck around the country. Below, you’ll find the top 15 cities with the highest rent in the U.S.

Why We’re Writing This

For investors or those who scrutinize the health of our economy, it’s important to know the real estate market is strong and ripe for smart investing, particularly if you can come to the table with cash. Real property sales are up, and rental prices are extremely healthy, outpacing sales in percentage growth year over year. If you are a landlord, this means your assets are safe and healthy. If you’re a renter or buyer, you’ll want to stay closely abreast of the sway of the market, considering when and where to make your next move.

Methodology

To write this article, we used data pulled directly from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to compile the city rankings. For ancillary data, we looked at Rent.com, as well. Average rents are based on 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom properties. Below are 15 cities with the highest rent in the U.S.

15. Denver, Colorado

Source: milehightraveler / iStock via Getty Images

Denver, Colorado’s popularity with east and west coasters looking for a more adventurous lifestyle has increased rental prices significantly.

  • Average Rent: $2,750

The mile-high city rounds out our list, proving how desirable it has become to live in Colorado.  Pandemic times pushed people from the east and west coasts to the middle of our country. Less building and more interest in home buying forced many to start looking for rental homes. Of course, this supply and demand shift is what pushed Denver onto this list for highest rent in the U.S.

14. Atlanta, Georgia

Georgia people | Young woman standing in Piedmont Park in Atlanta, Georgia looking at scenic water, and cityscape skyline of urban city skyscrapers downtown, Lake Clara Meer
Source: krblokhin / iStock via Getty Images

Atlanta, Georgia, has experienced a boom in population over the last decade, and recently, rental prices have begun to climb.

  • Average Rent: $2,654

The popularity of moving to our southern cities is no surprise, as cities like Atlanta, Georgia, provide tons of culture, entertainment, temperate weather, more space, and a different lifestyle. Atlanta has gone through different stages of growth, not always linear, but the current business climate has brought with it a demand for rentals that raised the average.

13. Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington | Space Needle and Seattle downtown
Source: aiisha5 / iStock via Getty Images

Seattle, Washington, is famous for being one of the most expensive rental markets in the country.

  • Average Rent: $2,907

Seattle, Washington, is a great place to live or play, with access to city amenities and the great outdoors. Professionals and families alike have flocked to Seattle in the last decade, creating a fierce housing market. Home sales are ultra-competitive, leaving many to duke it out in the rental space. Rental prices in Seattle are high and continue on an upward trajectory. 

12. Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Broward County, Florida | Fort Lauderdale Beach Florida
Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is popular for its nightlife, hot climate, and sizzling rental market.

  • Average Rent: $2,821

The Sunshine State has always been popular with snowbirds from the Northeast relocating; however, Fort Lauderdale is really seeing an explosion. Rental prices are solid in the high 2000s, and investors can be confident that cash purchases will result in high yields in the rental space. 

11. Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas | Downtown Austin Texas with capital and riverfront
Source: Jonathan Ross / iStock via Getty Images

Austin, Texas, has a unique vibe, and it’s become such a desirable place to live that rental prices have soared.

  • Average Rent: $2,930

As they say, everything is weirder in Austin, Texas, and it’s clear that applies to rents as well. While the rest of Texas enjoys a lower cost of living, Austin rental prices are some of the most expensive in the country. The draw to the liberal lifestyle, warmer climate, and innovative businesses has made Austin a contender for the most expensive rental city.

10. Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, California | Young Woman Walking Down Palm Trees Street Revealing Downtown Los Angeles
Source: DutcherAerials / E+ via Getty Images

Los Angeles, California, is one of the most culturally diverse and expensive cities to rent in the U.S.

  • Average Rent: $3,270

Southern California is attractive to people from across the globe, and Los Angeles is the most so due to our very popular film industry. Rental prices in Los Angeles are increasing steadily, forcing many in the labor force to move to eastern options outside of the county. To be in the center of all the action, it’s going to cost you! If you can still find something to invest in within L.A., it is a great time.

9. Washington, D.C

Illinois state image | Illinois State Capitol Building
Source: fotoguy22 / iStock via Getty Images

The U.S. capital makes the top 10 list for highest rents in the country.

  • Average Rent: $3,180

As mentioned earlier, access to the D.C. metro area is desirable, and being in Washington, D.C., is the ultimate dream for those looking to reside in the region. Rental prices in Washington, D.C., are always quite high, but in the past few years, with building shortages, rents have climbed even higher for our nation’s capital.

8. San Diego, California

San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, California | San Diego, California Skyline
Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images

It’s no surprise that San Diego, CA, has one of the top 10 highest rents in the U.S., drawing interest due to its perfect locale and weather.

  • Average Rent: $3,250

Sunny almost 365 days a year, who wouldn’t want to live in San Diego? The weather aside, the biotech industry, as well as government/military bases, make San Diego a prime place for anyone in the market to live. SoCal makes breaking into the home buying space a challenge, leaving many to choose renting in San Diego to achieve the lifestyle they’re after.

7. Arlington, Virginia

Arlington, Virginia | Arlington Financial District
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Gaining traction with young professionals commuting to Washington, D.C., and Arlington, VA, is seeing a surge in rental prices.

  • Average Rent: $3,180

You may be surprised to learn that Arlington, Virginia’s proximity to our nation’s capital, has caused rental prices to increase drastically in the last five years. Professionals and families alike are looking to find rentals in Arlington, and they are priced out of buying anywhere in the D.C. metro area. If you’re an investor, this means D.C. and the surrounding region are prime targets.

6. San Jose, California

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

Known best as ‘Silicon Valley,’ San Jose, California, is one of the most expensive cities to rent in the U.S.

  • Average Rent: $3,320

Much like San Francisco, San Jose is affected by the need for access to Silicon Valley. Businesses like Google and Apple have enormous workforces that need housing accommodations. As you can imagine, San Jose’s market is expensive and tough to break through with this many wealthy, successful candidates looking for rental properties.

5. Miami, Florida

Source: Davel5957 / iStock via Getty Images

Everything seems hotter in Miami, including the enormously high rent prices.

  • Average Rent: $3,640

The beautiful weather, gorgeous people, and bustling hospitality scene in Miami attract a lot of interest in the rental market. With fewer buildings in recent years, those looking for housing in Miami are now competing in a more fierce market. 

4. Boston, Massachusetts

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With a high density of colleges and hospitals, Boston, MA, typically demands high rents. 

  • Average Rent: $3,500

Boston, Massachusetts, is unique in that it has an abundance of elite universities and medical institutions in a very dense area. For this reason, there is never a shortage of people looking for housing. As we know, millennials are struggling to jump into the home-buying market, leading them into the deep and competitive rental pool. Boston is proof that the supply and demand issue is strong.

3. San Francisco, California

Source: bluejayphoto / iStock via Getty Images

The Golden Gate Bridge is an iconic symbol of San Francisco, CA, and it is regularly a top contender for the highest rent in the country.

  • Average Rent: $3,950

When we think of cities with the highest rents in the U.S., San Francisco, CA, almost always comes to mind. With its population density, wealth of culture & social programs, and distance to other popular destinations in the Golden State, it’s no wonder San Francisco is priced so high. If you have cash to invest in the real estate market, this city will nurture it.

2. Jersey City, New Jersey

Source: AUDREY SCRIPP / iStock via Getty Images

Steel Pier draws tourists from all over the U.S., particularly in the summertime, when rents also soar.

  • Average Rent: $3,750

It’s not surprising that Jersey City, New Jersey, comes in second, with average rents close to $4,000 a month, given its close proximity to New York City. If you’re looking for an investment property to hold its value and gain equity over time, you’ll want to consider Manhattan’s neighbor to the south.

1. New York City, New York

Row of elegant Harlem brownstone stoops in the fall
Source: MDoculus / iStock via Getty Images

New York City regularly tops the real estate charts for most expensive city to live.

  • Average Rent: $4,035

New York, New York, the city so nice it was named twice, has certainly held its own in popularity over the last two decades.  The Big Apple has remained at the top of the charts for the highest rent steadily in the last 5 years. Rental costs in New York remained high, even through the toughest of the pandemic years. Investors in New York City real estate can continue to sleep well knowing their assets are secure. 

Are you curious about where all the wealth is concentrated in this country?  Check out These U.S Cities Have the Most Millionaires and Here’s Why.

Conclusion

It’s important to understand the inner workings of the rental market here in the U.S. to identify the best investment opportunities and predict future lulls. Renters need to stay educated on the ebbs and flows and consider whether their future includes moving to a city with lower housing costs. The bottleneck produced by post-pandemic slowed production and an ever-flow of millennials who could not purchase homes highlights the importance of staying well-informed during unstable times. For landlords and investors, we predict this rental price upward swing is here to stay. Invest wisely!

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