The Top 11 Affordable Cities in 2023
Does it feel like rent prices get higher and higher every year? You’re not far off. According to a report from RealPage, rent rates have been rising nationwide by about 2.6% every year, not to mention the last three. These upticks can leave some wondering if there’s a better alternative.
According to a report from Credit Karma, rent prices have been trending upward since 2017, with more significant increases between 2021 and 2022. But don’t despair! There’s hope for cheaper rent in some of your favorite metropolitan cities. Here are the cheapest places to live in U.S. cities with lower living costs.
1. Des Moines, Iowa
- Median 1-BR Apartment Rent: $1,112
- Median 2-BR Apartment Rent: $980
When checking out cities in the west, don’t forget the midwest! Home to the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park and Gold Dome, this city of friendly faces and stellar eats has earned its place as one of the most lively cultural meccas in the country. Stop by one of their many botanical gardens, cultural museums, or sculpture parks to explore why the Hartford of the West is one of the most affordable places to live in the U.S.
2. St. Louis, MO
- Median 1-BR Apartment Rent: $1,157
- Median 2-BR Apartment Rent: $1,499
Saint Louisans take pride in their baseball, Budweiser, Bread Co., Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, free zoo, and city museums. Come see why you should be packing your bags and moving to a low-rent apartment under that famous Arch!
3. Colorado Springs, CO
- Median 1-BR Apartment Rent: $1,301
- Median 2-BR Apartment Rent: $1,584
If you’ve ever wanted to live in Colorado, but didn’t want to pay the exorbitant housing prices found in Denver and Boulder, then consider Colorado Springs. Offering many of the same amenities as the state’s main cities, this oasis is one of the most affordable places to live in Colorado. With an energetic music and arts scene, bustling natural landmarks like Garden of the Gods, and numerous hiking trails, “the Springs” is perfect for young career professionals seeking cheaper rent options.
4. Minneapolis, MN
- Median 1-BR Apartment Rent: $1,360
- Median 2-BR Apartment Rent: $1,775
Twin city to the bordering capital of St.Paul, Minneapolis is renowned for its many splendiferous lakes and parks. Bursting with cultural landmarks like the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and Walker Art Center, the City of Lakes is sure to feel like home in no time.
5. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- Median 1-BR Apartment Rent: $1,405
- Median 2-BR Apartment Rent: 1,647
In the 19th century, the first yellow, cream-colored bricks were discovered and crafted here, earning Milwaukee its nickname, “Cream City.” Touting craft breweries galore, it’s also known as the “Brew City.” With its bustling job market, delicious cheese and dining scene, infamous Harley-Davidson Museum, and a plethora of universities, this city definitely holds its own on this list.
6. Baltimore, MD
- Median 1-BR Apartment Rent: $1,455
- Median 2-BR Apartment Rent: $1,728
Charm City is about more than ritzy architecture, vibrant nightlife, and lively music. Baltimore boasts cultural cuisines through its very own Little Italy and Greektown. From the Inner Harbor to Fells Point, you can share in the upscale crab shacks, robust shopping scene, and major attractions — like the National Aquarium — while calling this place home.
7. Pittsburgh, PA
- Median 1-BR Apartment Rent: $1,465
- Median 2-BR Apartment Rent: $1,659
The Economist’s Global Liveability Ranking placed Pittsburgh as either the first- or second-most liveable city in the U.S. in 2005, 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2014. With reasonable rent prices, sports stadiums, and the city’s Gilded Age sites, it’s easy to see why!
8. Austin, TX
- Median 1-BR Apartment Rent: $1,524
- Median 2-BR Apartment Rent: $1,874
Boasting the motto “Keep Austin Weird,” this city is one of the most eccentric and cheapest places to live in Texas. Known for its ever-popular University of Texas at Austin, live music and art scene, vibrant nightlife, and active landscapes, it takes almost no effort at all to call this place home. Spend your days biking, hiking, and boating in the capital of the Lone Star State when snagging a new apartment in this dynamic environment!
9. Portland, OR
- Median 1-BR Apartment Rent: $1,572
- Median 2-BR Apartment Rent: $1,795
It takes all types of people to make up a city, and that’s precisely what makes Portland so great. Residents enjoy craft beer, plenty of outdoor activities, and a great artistic community. For those looking to bike everywhere, start a flannel collection, and pay less in rent, Portland is the place for you.
10. New Orleans, LA
- Median 1-BR Apartment Rent: $1,657
- Median 2-BR Apartment Rent: $1,915
The magic of Bourbon Street and the French Quarter could be yours for good! New Orleans is famous for its jazz music, Cajun food, and great nightlife. Once you head down to the bayou and see these rent prices, you’ll never want to leave.
11. Chicago, IL
- Median 1-BR Apartment Rent: $1,925
- Median 2-BR Apartment Rent: $2,344
Looking for a big city move? Chicago is the third most populous city in the U.S.! Residents of the Windy City love sports, parks, and, of course, Chicago-style hot dogs. Is it time for a metropolitan adventure that won’t break the bank?
Check out our Chicago Moving Guide!
Live Affordably with Help from ApartmentSearch
Ready to make your move and start saving on rent in one of these major cities? Or maybe you’d like to try out other options we’ve yet to mention, like the Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) area, Seattle, Washington, or Nashville, Tennessee.
Find the perfect apartment in your ideal neighborhood for the price you want, with ApartmentSearch. Then, use your extra cash to furnish your new apartment with CORT Furniture Rental. CORT will deliver the furniture you need to your door and put it where you want it. Never let furniture (or funds) bog you down again!