15 Cities With the Highest Rents

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new homeowner receives house key
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Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on Stessa.

Inflation continues to be the major story in the U.S. economy, as households confront rapidly rising prices in nearly every consumer category.

Data released in March by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that the Consumer Price Index rose by 7.9% from February 2021 to February 2022. This increase represented a 40-year high and a tenth straight month with year-over-year inflation higher than 5%.

While home prices began to accelerate rapidly in the second half of 2020 and have barely slowed, rents were stable throughout 2020 as federal COVID-19 relief dollars and policies like eviction moratoriums helped keep renters in place.

But, in 2021, rents began to see sharp increases as well, with the median rent increasing from $1,601 at the beginning of the year to $1,856 at the beginning of 2022, according to data from Zillow.

The more recent increases in rent are in part an extension of forces in the real estate market. For both buyers and renters, an inadequate supply of housing nationwide — particularly for single-family homes, which have had higher demand since the pandemic began — is constraining the options available on the market and raising prices.

To determine the locations with the most expensive rent, our researchers calculated the median monthly rent across all unit sizes in each location. In the event of a tie, the location with the greater median monthly rent for a one-bedroom unit was ranked higher. Only locations with at least 100,000 residents were included. The data used in this analysis is from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau.

Here are the metropolitan areas with the highest rents.

15. Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX

Austin, Texas
Roschetzky Photography / Shutterstock.com
  • Median rent estimate: $1,606
  • Studio: $1,177
  • One-bedroom: $1,333
  • 2-bedroom: $1,565
  • 3-bedroom: $2,013
  • 4-bedroom: $2,367

14. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL

Orlando, Florida
ESB Professional / Shutterstock.com
  • Median rent estimate: $1,678
  • Studio: $1,239
  • One-bedroom: $1,331
  • 2-bedroom: $1,530
  • 3-bedroom: $1,966
  • 4-bedroom: $2,379

13. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA

Portland, Oregon waterfront
Josemaria Toscano / Shutterstock.com
  • Median rent estimate: $1,684
  • Studio: $1,285
  • One-bedroom: $1,372
  • 2-bedroom: $1,575
  • 3-bedroom: $2,225
  • 4-bedroom: $2,635

12. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL

Miami, Florida
GagliardiImages / Shutterstock.com
  • Median rent estimate: $1,798
  • Studio: $1,216
  • One-bedroom: $1,395
  • 2-bedroom: $1,746
  • 3-bedroom: $2,371
  • 4-bedroom: $2,843

11. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO

Denver, Colorado
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  • Median rent estimate: $1,822
  • Studio: $1,341
  • One-bedroom: $1,480
  • 2-bedroom: $1,800
  • 3-bedroom: $2,416
  • 4-bedroom: $2,714

10. Sacramento-Roseville-Folsom, CA

Adonis Villanueva / Shutterstock.com
  • Median rent estimate: $1,845
  • Studio: $1,201
  • One-bedroom: $1,326
  • 2-bedroom: $1,673
  • 3-bedroom: $2,373
  • 4-bedroom: $2,845

9. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA

Riverside California neighborhood
Matt Gush / Shutterstock.com
  • Median rent estimate: $1,859
  • Studio: $1,153
  • One-bedroom: $1,306
  • 2-bedroom: $1,639
  • 3-bedroom: $2,242
  • 4-bedroom: $2,761

8. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

Washington D.C.
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  • Median rent estimate: $1,976
  • Studio: $1,639
  • One-bedroom: $1,668
  • 2-bedroom: $1,904
  • 3-bedroom: $2,413
  • 4-bedroom: $2,898

7. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA

Rain in New York City, New York
Martchan / Shutterstock.com
  • Median rent estimate: $2,045
  • Studio: $1,619
  • One-bedroom: $1,765
  • 2-bedroom: $2,075
  • 3-bedroom: $2,630
  • 4-bedroom: $2,912

6. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA

Seattle
Albert Pegp / Shutterstock.com
  • Median rent estimate: $2,080
  • Studio: $1,603
  • One-bedroom: $1,682
  • 2-bedroom: $2,005
  • 3-bedroom: $2,762
  • 4-bedroom: $3,261

5. San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA

Dancestrokes / Shutterstock.com
  • Median rent estimate: $2,251
  • Studio: $1,521
  • One-bedroom: $1,682
  • 2-bedroom: $2,158
  • 3-bedroom: $2,996
  • 4-bedroom: $3,669

4. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA

The streets of Los Angeles, where median rent is relatively low
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Median rent estimate: $2,255
  • Studio: $1,602
  • One-bedroom: $1,836
  • 2-bedroom: $2,313
  • 3-bedroom: $3,077
  • 4-bedroom: $3,406

3. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH

Boston, Massachusetts
Roman Babakin / Shutterstock.com
  • Median rent estimate: $2,377
  • Studio: $1,811
  • One-bedroom: $1,994
  • 2-bedroom: $2,410
  • 3-bedroom: $2,981
  • 4-bedroom: $3,273

2. San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA

San Francisco, California
IM_photo / Shutterstock.com
  • Median rent estimate: $2,830
  • Studio: $1,945
  • One-bedroom: $2,379
  • 2-bedroom: $2,899
  • 3-bedroom: $3,734
  • 4-bedroom: $4,280

1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

San Jose California
Uladzik Kryhin / Shutterstock.com
  • Median rent estimate: $3,186
  • Studio: $2,328
  • One-bedroom: $2,625
  • 2-bedroom: $3,118
  • 3-bedroom: $4,016
  • 4-bedroom: $4,593

Methodology

Man analyzing data on a laptop
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The data used in this analysis is from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 50th Percentile Rent Estimates (2022) and the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (2019). To determine the locations with the most expensive rent, researchers estimated the median monthly rent across all unit sizes (number of bedrooms) in each location — a statistic derived by calculating a weighted average of the location’s median monthly rents for each unit size. The weights used in the weighted average calculation were the number of renter-occupied households living in each corresponding unit size in each location. In the event of a tie, the location with the greater median monthly rent for a one-bedroom unit was ranked higher. Only locations with at least 100,000 residents were included. Additionally, metros were divided into cohorts based on population: small (100,000 to 349,999), midsize (350,000 to 999,999), and large (1,000,000 or more).