15 Cities With the Highest Rent-to-Price Ratio

Man and woman couple carrying boxes preparing to move into new home
BalanceFormCreative / Shutterstock.com

This story originally appeared on Roofstock.

In recent years, home prices have been increasing faster than rents in the U.S., making homeownership less attractive. After dropping significantly during the housing crisis, home prices not only recovered but rose by nearly 70% from the lowest levels. However, despite rising home values, in some parts of the country, renting is still more expensive than owning when comparing monthly rents with monthly mortgage payments.

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the median monthly rent in the U.S. is $1,369, while the monthly mortgage payment on a median-price home at current interest rates is less than $900.

Housing and rental prices vary considerably on a geographic basis. When considering whether to buy or rent, the rent-to-price ratio can be a useful metric — calculated as median annual rent as a percentage of median home price in a given area. In locations with high rent-to-price ratios, it can be better to buy; whereas, in those with low rent-to-price ratios, it can be more cost-effective to rent.

To find the metros with the highest rent-to-price ratio, our researchers analyzed the latest data from HUD, the U.S. Census Bureau, and Zillow. The researchers ranked metro areas according to the ratio of annual median rent to median home prices. Researchers also calculated the median monthly rent, median home price, and the monthly mortgage payment for a median-price home.

To improve relevance, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 people were included in the analysis.

Here are the large metros with the highest rent to home price ratios.

15. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA

Atlanta, Georgia, Piedmont Park skyline autumn
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Rent-to-price ratio: 6.51%
  • Median monthly rent: $1,384
  • Median home price: $255,109
  • Monthly mortgage payment for a median-price home: $830

14. Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC

Virginia Beach, Virginia
JoMo333 / Shutterstock.com
  • Rent-to-price ratio: 6.55%
  • Median monthly rent: $1,417
  • Median home price: $259,731
  • Monthly mortgage payment for a median-price home: $845

13. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL

Orlando, Florida
ESB Professional / Shutterstock.com
  • Rent-to-price ratio: 6.57%
  • Median monthly rent: $1,472
  • Median home price: $268,806
  • Monthly mortgage payment for a median-price home: $874

12. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI

Chicago, Illinois
f11photo / Shutterstock.com
  • Rent-to-price ratio: 6.59%
  • Median monthly rent: $1,402
  • Median home price: $255,532
  • Monthly mortgage payment for a median-price home: $831

11. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX

Dallas, Texas
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Rent-to-price ratio: 6.64%
  • Median monthly rent: $1,505
  • Median home price: $271,831
  • Monthly mortgage payment for a median-price home: $884

10. New Orleans-Metairie, LA

New Orleans
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Rent-to-price ratio: 6.65%
  • Median monthly rent: $1,203
  • Median home price: $217,016
  • Monthly mortgage payment for a median-price home: $706

9. Cleveland-Elyria, OH

Cleveland, Ohio
Pedro Gutierrez / Shutterstock.com
  • Rent-to-price ratio: 6.67%
  • Median monthly rent: $939
  • Median home price: $168,994
  • Monthly mortgage payment for a median-price home: $550

8. Pittsburgh, PA

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Rent-to-price ratio: 6.69%
  • Median monthly rent: $974
  • Median home price: $174,771
  • Monthly mortgage payment for a median-price home: $569

7. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL

Miami, Florida
littleny / Shutterstock.com
  • Rent-to-price ratio: 6.69%
  • Median monthly rent: $1,742
  • Median home price: $312,574
  • Monthly mortgage payment for a median-price home: $1,017

6. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI

Detroit, Michigan
Susanne Pommer / Shutterstock.com
  • Rent-to-price ratio: 6.72%
  • Median monthly rent: $1,093
  • Median home price: $195,270
  • Monthly mortgage payment for a median-price home: $635

5. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL

Tampa, Florida
kevin-j-king / Shutterstock.com
  • Rent-to-price ratio: 6.76%
  • Median monthly rent: $1,354
  • Median home price: $240,308
  • Monthly mortgage payment for a median-price home: $782

4. Rochester, NY

Rochester, New York
Sirichai netthong / Shutterstock.com
  • Rent-to-price ratio: 7.20%
  • Median monthly rent: $1,017
  • Median home price: $169,546
  • Monthly mortgage payment for a median-price home: $552

3. Oklahoma City, OK

Oklahoma
4kclips / Shutterstock.com
  • Rent-to-price ratio: 7.48%
  • Median monthly rent: $1,067
  • Median home price: $171,213
  • Monthly mortgage payment for a median-price home: $557

2. Birmingham-Hoover, AL

Birmingham, Alabama
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Rent-to-price ratio: 7.61%
  • Median monthly rent: $1,166
  • Median home price: $184,012
  • Monthly mortgage payment for a median-price home: $599

1. Memphis, TN-MS-AR

Memphis, Tennessee
f11photo / Shutterstock.com
  • Rent-to-price ratio: 7.69%
  • Median monthly rent: $1,076
  • Median home price: $167,904
  • Monthly mortgage payment for a median-price home: $546

Detailed Findings & Methodology

Woman using her smartphone data
Thomas Andreas / Shutterstock.com

To find the metros with the highest rent to home price ratios, Roofstock crunched numbers from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey (ACS), and Zillow. The rent-to-price ratio was calculated as the ratio of annualized median rent to Zillow’s Home Value Index. Median rent was calculated as the weighted average of rent for a studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, three-bedroom, four-bedroom, and five-bedroom apartment. The number of renter households by bedroom from the ACS were used as weights. Median home price comes from Zillow’s most recent home value index.

The monthly mortgage payment for a median-price home assumed a 30-year fixed mortgage, 20% down payment, and a 2.72% interest rate.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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