Rents in the United States hit a record high in April, according to real estate listing site Realtor.com, with rents rising 16.7% compared to the previous year. In contrast, over the previous five years, gross rents increased by 18.1%.
Rising housing costs have put a serious squeeze on the millions of Americans, typically younger ones, who already cannot afford to own a home. Many of those who are already being affected by inflation are likely looking to live in places with more affordable rentals.
To determine the ZIP codes with the lowest rent, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed five-year estimates of median gross rent from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey. The median gross rent across the United States is $1,096, and in these 50 ZIP codes, it ranges from $480 to as low as $291.
Kentucky has the most ZIP codes of the 50 on this list,, with eight, followed by Texas and Mississippi, with five each. Almost two-thirds of these ZIP codes are in the South.
The vast majority of the places on this list have a lower typical home value than the U.S. median of $229,800. This includes ZIP 43604, which is home to downtown Toledo, Ohio, where the typical home is worth $31,300. This is the income you need to be in the top 1% in every state.
Broadly speaking, housing costs reflect the income levels of the population living there. Housing costs tend to be more expensive in wealthier communities, while places with high levels of poverty tend to have cheaper housing. The 50 ZIP codes on the list are some of the poorest parts of the country. All but one have lower median household incomes compared to the national figure of $5,416. In ZIP 44503, which comprises the majority of downtown Youngstown, Ohio, the typical monthly household income is $751. This is the poorest town in every state.
But even when accounting for these lower incomes, most of the ZIP codes are more affordable than much of the country. Nationwide, the annual median gross rent is equivalent to 29.6% of household income. In 38 of the 50 ZIP codes on this list, median rent accounts for a smaller share of income. These are the states with the lowest and highest rent.
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