As many Americans have moved due to the pandemic, particularly from large cities on the East and West Coasts, in search of a better quality of life, home prices have surged. People also have been able to relocate because more companies have allowed employees to work from home. In addition, low mortgage rates also contributed to rising home sales. However, not all people want to buy a home, and many are renting.
To determine rents in U.S. cities, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from Realtor.com, which ranked the 50 largest metropolitan areas based on median monthly rent as of May 2021. The city with the lowest rents in America is Oklahoma City. This is the least expensive metro area to buy a home in every state.
Rent prices from city to city vary widely. In Realtor.com’s Monthly Rental Report, Chief Economist Danielle Hale explained, “Led by emerging tech markets and secondary cities, U.S. median rent prices reached the highest level seen in more than two years in May, surpassing pre-COVID levels.” Hale added that rents in more than three-quarters of the 50 largest cities climbed at an average annual pace of 9.1% – nearly double the overall inflation rate of 5%.
While rents in large coastal cities have remained high, they have not risen sharply. In some cases, they actually dropped year over year in May. Rents in Los Angeles fell 0.5% to $2,581, which still makes the city among the most expensive in the country. Rents in San Francisco fell 8.3% to $2,715. By contrast, in Memphis, a medium-sized inland city in Tennessee, rents rose by 17.2% year over year to $1,092 in May. Rents in Phoenix rose 16.8% to $1,543.
Among the 50 largest markets, one stands out with the lowest median rent by far. The rate per month in Oklahoma City was $834, up by 5.6%. No other city had a median rent figure below $1,000. Even struggling Detroit had a median rent of $1,159, up 6.3%.
Notably, Oklahoma City is one of the smallest metropolitan areas on the list. It ranks 41st on the list of largest metropolitan areas in America, with a population of 1,425,375. Still, it is the largest in its state. This is the largest city in every state.
To determine the city with the lowest rent in America, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from Realtor.com, a subsidiary of News Corp. and the listing website of the National Association of Realtors. The 50 largest metropolitan statistical areas were ranked based on median monthly rent as of May 2021. Supplemental data on the percentage of occupied households occupied by renters, the percentage of renters paying 35% or more of their income on rent, and the average household size of rental units came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey and are one-year estimates.
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