Where Renters Can Find The Cheapest Rents In The Nation Right Now

The prospect of owning a home is becoming a distant reality for many, with inventory shortages and increased pricing and competition pervasive in the real estate marketplace. According to CBS News, listing prices were almost 19% higher compared to the previous year. That is driving up the cost and demand for rental properties too, normally a solid alternative for those not financially ready, or otherwise disinclined to buy, with Realtor.com explaining that all of the nation's major cities and their surrounding areas reported rental price increases over 2021. 

The markets of certain regions are more impacted by these driving factors, primarily those on the coasts and near metropolitan locations. To find less expensive rentals, we look to the middle of the country (e.g. away from coastal areas), and to midsized cities. A good few are only an hour or two from a major city complement, with all of the amenities, entertainment, and employment opportunities it offers — an especially appealing option for remote workers. Considering several factors, including average annual income, cost of living, and typical commute time, these regions, in no particular order, have some of the most affordable rentals in the country today.  

Cleveland, Ohio and surrounding areas

According to Zumper, the average cost of rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Cleveland was $1,231 last month, varying per size, quality, and proximity to trending areas. Recent investment in Cleveland real estate has created a supply of apartments in this second largest city in Ohio. According to Discover Cleveland, Greater Cleveland is located on the shoreline of Lake Erie, boasting 150 parks and 35 museums. With a cost of living 27% under the national average and a growing economy, Cleveland ranked in the top third for beginning a career by LinkedIn (Cincinnati, OH came in fourth); it's a great spot for young professionals. 

Fondly called the "Emerald Necklace" for its surrounding natural resources including trails, beaches, and parks, Cleveland is also home to several pioneering and award-winning health institutions. Cultural attractions abound with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the biggest performing arts venue outside of New York City, Playhouse Square. Lest you think Cleveland stuffy, you'll also find the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Browns, and the Cavs.

Baton Rouge, LA

Rent.com lists a one-bedroom rental in Baton Rouge, Louisiana at an average of $1,056 per month. The city is located near the Louisiana River and is the state capital; home to Louisiana State University, it has a college-town atmosphere. But just a little over an hour away lies New Orleans, a global attraction with a unique identity like no other city, known for its food, music, and the French Quarter. Baton Rouge claims equal foodie and jazz rights, but without the crowding and expense of NOLA. 

Policygenius puts the cost of living in Baton Rouge below the national average, while rental vacancy is better than average. With temperatures typically ranging from 43 to 91 degrees Fahrenheit, Baton Rouge is perfect for the those who prefer to live in a warm climate. U.S. News and World Report adds that Baton Rouge construction is booming, and the city is ever expanding, with a downtown and metro shopping area. Hunting and fishing are prime hobbies for the outdoor enthusiast, with the Gulf Coast and hunting grounds nearby; the area is also abundant in golf courses, parks, and trails.

Indianapolis, IN

Tied with Memphis, Tennessee, Indianapolis, Indiana claims the number six spot at Rent.com for cheapest rents in the U.S., with one-bedroom rentals averaging $955, according to Zumper. Home to the Indy 500, a 500-mile long race with speeds of over 220 miles per hour, this bustling city quiets down, literally, once the annual race is over. A bucolic waterfront area featuring paths and gardens is a big attraction for bikers and runners, while the Indianapolis Zoo, one of the best in the country, lies across the White River. 

Indianapolis is a thriving medley of neighborhoods, each one offering something different, including industry, art, festivals, and restaurants. According to IndyHub, it's known as the Crossroads of America for its easy travel to other big Midwestern cities, and the reportedly best airport in North America. Host to several major past sporting events including the Super Bowl, the NCAA Final Four Tournaments, and the namesake Indy 500, Indianapolis is a favorite with sports fans.