The 9 Most Expensive U.S. Rental Markets
Life + Money

The 9 Most Expensive U.S. Rental Markets

California takes top honors in a new list.


California, particularly the San Francisco area and Silicon Valley, is the most expensive rental market in the country, fueled by a tech boom in much of the Golden State.

Five out of the 9 most expensive rental markets in the U.S. are in California, while the other priciest rental metro areas are all in the Northeast, according to a new list compiled by Apartment Guide, a rental listing website.

Based on its rental listings, Apartment Guide first calculated the national median rent for an entry-level studio or one-bedroom apartment, which came in at $769. It then searched for how much space that figure would provide in metro areas with at least 30 properties listed.

These are the 9 metro areas in the country where rent per square foot is the priciest. If you want a luxury two-bedroom apartment in these areas, add two zeroes, on average, to the number, and you’ll have a ballpark picture of your monthly rent.

1)      San Jose, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara – CA
$34.55 a square foot

2)      San Francisco, Oakland, Fremont – CA
$32.39 a square foot

3)      Bridgeport, Stanford, Norwalk – CT
$27.29 a square foot

4)      Boston, Cambridge, Newton –  MA
$27.10 a square foot

5)      Los Angeles, Long Beach, Anaheim –  CA
$27 a square foot

6)      Oxnard, Thousand Oaks, Ventura –  CA
$24.87 a square foot

7)      New York, Newark, Jersey City – NY, NJ
$24.63 a square foot

8)      Washington, Arlington, Alexandria –  D.C., VA
$22.73 a square foot

9)      San Diego, Carlsbad, San Marcos – CA
$21.94 a square foot

Related: Housing Recovery Leaves Millennials Out in the Cold

As property values have been rising in these areas, making homes less and less affordable, and as Americans struggle to qualify for mortgages, many people – especially millennials – have been left with no choice but to rent. Yet renting has become expensive. A one-bedroom apartment in Santa Clara, for example, rents for $2,282 to $2,532 a month, according to Apartment Guide’s listings.

Meanwhile, metro areas where the square footage is the most affordable are predominantly in the South and the Midwest. For the price of a rental in the Silicon Valley, you could rent an apartment four times as big in Springfield, Miss., the metro area with the most affordable rentals in the nation. Other affordable metro areas include Macon, Ga., and Huntsville, Ala., where a square foot is worth $8.75 and $8.89 respectively.

In the middle of the pack, Tucson and Phoenix in Arizona as well as Fresno, Calif., are the metro areas where a square foot costs about a dollar – putting these cities right in the middle of the highest and lowest rents per square foot.

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