Wichita, Kansas, has the cheapest rent in the country, but renters in many other cities are starting to see discounts.
Think the rent is too damn high? You might want to hitch a ride to Wichita.
The Kansas city had the lowest average rent in May at just $634 per month, according to a recent report from real-estate website RentCafe and data analytics firm Yardi Matrix. That’s less than one-sixth of what renters pay in New York’s Manhattan borough, the most expensive rental market in the country, where the average rent is more than $4,000 per month.
Other cities with some of the cheapest rents in the country include Tulsa, Okla., at $669 per month and Toledo, Ohio, at $699 per month. (The report analyzed apartments across 250 cities located in buildings with 50 or more units ranging in size from studios to three-bedroom units. It covered cities with populations over 100,000 people and a rental stock of 2,900 apartments.)
But chances are their rent hasn’t increased by a whole lot recently for renters from Wichita to the Big Apple. The average rent nationwide only increased 2% over the past year in May to $1,381 per month — the smallest annual rental growth since 2010. In many parts of the country, including Manhattan, Chicago and Austin, Texas, the average rent is the same now as it was a year ago, according to researchers.
In these cities “large numbers of new apartments are giving renters more options to choose from, which results in price concessions,” the report noted.
However, some of the country’s most expensive markets have continued to experience above-average rent hikes, thanks to the outsized demand for housing. In Los Angeles, the average rent now stands at $2,337 per month, which is 4% higher than a year ago. Rents swelled even more in Denver — up 4.7% to $1,566 per month over the past 12 months.
And in many smaller housing markets, an improved job market has created a major housing crunch. Midland and Odessa — two cities at the heart of Texas’ petroleum country — witnessed the fastest growth in rental prices, with the average monthly rent in both cities skyrocketing by more than 35% over the past year. Unsurprisingly, these two cities are also adding jobs at a fast clip.
Generally speaking, rental growth is more concentrated among the smaller cities and towns across the country, researchers said. “People are fleeing larger and more expensive cities for more affordable ones,” the report noted. “However, these economic and demographic shifts often drive housing prices up in those markets.”