Housing is the typical American's greatest monthly expense, and that holds true for homeowners and renters alike. But if you're part of the latter category, it especially pays to keep your costs as low as possible, since you're not building equity in a property so much as paying to put a roof over your head.
The good news? There are plenty of opportunities across the country to snag a great deal on a rental. Here are the top 10 cities where rent for a one-bedroom went down the most in 2019, according to the Apartment Guide 2020 Annual Rent Report.
1. Virginia Beach, Virginia
Average one-bedroom rent: $1,165.64
They say Virginia is for lovers, and if you're a lover of cheap rent, Virginia Beach may be a good spot to camp out for a while. The average one-bedroom rental decreased by 26.8% in 2019, and since jobs are plentiful there, it could pay to sign a lease.
2. Wichita, Kansas
Average one-bedroom rent: $804.46
Wichita sports a low cost of living on the whole, and since home prices there fall well below the national average, it's not surprising to see that the city offers competitive prices for renters. In fact, Wichita saw a 14.9% decrease in rents last year, and the cost of utilities, healthcare, and transportation went down as well.
3. New Orleans, Louisiana
Average one-bedroom rent: $1,564.84
If you love nightlife, great music, and some of the best food you'll possibly taste in your lifetime, New Orleans could be a good place to call home, especially since rents dropped 14.4% there in 2019. But make no mistake about it -- the city is still fairly expensive to live in, so much so that its overall cost of living went up 7.4% last year.
4. Garland, Texas
Average one-bedroom rent: $1,070.79
They say everything's bigger in Texas, but that may not hold true for rental prices. Garland saw an average rent decrease of 13.9% in 2019. On the other hand, the general cost of living rose 6.1%.
5. Arlington, Texas
Average one-bedroom rent: $1,000.02
Not far from Garland, Arlington is another Texas city where you might score housing on the cheap, with an average rent decrease of 13.5% in 2019. But unlike in Garland, the cost of living went down in Arlington by 3%, which is a positive thing for the frugal-minded renter.
6. Madison, Wisconsin
Average one-bedroom rent: $1,215.46
Wisconsin's capital may be a relatively inexpensive choice to settle down in, at least temporarily. Rents decreased by an average of 10.1% in 2019, and while the overall cost of living mostly held steady, one thing you should know is that the city boasts a relatively low unemployment rate. Future job growth in Madison looks good as well.
7. Lubbock, Texas
Average one-bedroom rent: $707.66
Yet another Texas city makes an appearance on this top 10 list, and with a cost of living that's well below the national average, it's easy to see why. Rentals decreased 9% in 2019, and with a strong level of recent job growth, it may be a good city to plant some roots in.
8. Boston, Massachusetts
Average one-bedroom rent: $3,712.96
Let's be clear: Boston is still an extraordinarily expensive city to rent in. But percentage-wise, it saw one of the largest rent decreases in the country last year at 8.7%. Still, plan for a high cost of living on the whole, and if you're going to rent there, don't expect a ton of square footage for your buck.
9. Toledo, Ohio
Average one-bedroom rent: $821.75
Housing may be cheap in Toledo, but unemployment is rampant and future job growth in the city does not look good. Therefore, despite the city's average 8.7% decrease in rental costs in 2019, you may want to explore other metro areas if you're looking to reside in Ohio.
10. Tulsa, Oklahoma
Average one-bedroom rent: $669.96
With an average one-bedroom rent of well under $700, Tulsa may be a good place to call home if you're looking for someplace affordable. Rents went down 8.2% on average last year, and the overall cost of living dropped by 3.5%.
Save your money
Finding a relatively inexpensive rental can be beneficial for a number of reasons. First, the less you spend on rent, the more money you'll have left over for other expenses. Secondly, if you're looking to rent for a few years so you can save up money for a down payment on a home of your own, you'll appreciate paying as little rent as possible.
Of course, rental prices aren't the only factor to consider when you're looking for a place to live. You'll also want to take things like job prospects, crime, and school district ratings (if you have kids) into account. But this list can at least serve as a starting point if you're interested in cities where rent prices seem to be going down -- not up.
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