The Most — and Least — Expensive Metros for New Renters

Upset renter
Damir Khabirov / Shutterstock.com

This story originally appeared on HireAHelper.

The COVID-19 outbreak is poised to cause major migration shifts across the U.S.

According to recent data, 22% of U.S. adults changed their residence or knew someone who did because of the pandemic. This represents a stark reversal from the longstanding trend of Americans staying put and could have far-reaching effects on local populations and economies.

Prior to COVID-19, geographic mobility in the U.S. reached historic lows. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that between 2018 and 2019, only 9% of Americans changed their address. By contrast, the geographic mobility rate hovered around 20% throughout the 1950s and 1960s before beginning its decline.

Despite the overall drop in mobility, people who moved in 2019 were more likely to do so for work-related reasons than in years past. For example, between 2018 and 2019, 12.1% of those who moved indicated a new job or job transfer was their primary reason for moving, compared with 9.5% in 1999.

These mobility trends are likely to reverse course sharply in the wake of COVID-19, especially as more companies allow for remote work. Pew Research Center data suggests that people have moved as much already in 2020 as in all of 2019.

As the need to live in close proximity to work has shifted for many Americans, more affordable housing is a particularly strong draw for residents looking to move. To find the most and least expensive locations to sign a new rental agreement, researchers at HireAHelper, a marketplace for local moving companies, analyzed median rental prices and wage statistics across the United States.

Using this data, HireAHelper calculated how many hours the typical renter would need to work to sign a new rental agreement. For this calculation, the researchers assumed that a renter would need to pay three months of rent upfront (i.e., first month’s rent, last month’s rent and a security deposit).

For example, the national median cost of a two-bedroom rental is $1,293 and the median wage is $19.14 per hour. This means that a typical renter would need to have $3,879 saved to sign the rental agreement, which would require 203 hours of work.

Here are the 15 most expensive and 15 least expensive metros in which to sign a new rental agreement.

Methodology

Young woman renter packing up to move house
Dmytro Zinkevych / Shutterstock.com

The rental price data used in this report is from HUD’s 50th Percentile Rent Estimates. State- and national-level estimates were aggregated from county-level data. Median wage statistics are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics.

To find the number of work hours needed to sign a two-bedroom rental agreement in each location, researchers assumed that a renter would need to pay three months of rent upfront (i.e., first month’s rent, last month’s rent, and a security deposit). This total amount was then divided by the location’s median hourly wage.

Locations were ordered by the resulting statistic. In the event of a tie, median monthly rent was used. Only metropolitan areas with at least 500,000 residents were included in the analysis.

Most expensive

15. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA

Riverside, California at night
MattGush / Shutterstock.com

  • Hours of work needed to sign a rental agreement: 230
  • First month’s rent + last month’s rent + security deposit: $4,182
  • Median 2-bedroom monthly rent: $1,394
  • Median hourly wage: $18.17

14. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL

Sarasota, Florida
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Hours of work needed to sign a rental agreement: 233
  • First month’s rent + last month’s rent + security deposit: $3,960
  • Median 2-bedroom monthly rent: $1,320
  • Median hourly wage: $17

13. Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL

Daytona Beach, Florida
Katherine Welles / Shutterstock.com
  • Hours of work needed to sign a rental agreement: 234
  • First month’s rent + last month’s rent + security deposit: $3,531
  • Median 2-bedroom monthly rent: $1,177
  • Median hourly wage: $15.11

12. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL

James Kirkikis / Shutterstock.com

  • Hours of work needed to sign a rental agreement: 244
  • First month’s rent + last month’s rent + security deposit: $4,023
  • Median 2-bedroom monthly rent: $1,341
  • Median hourly wage: $16.50

11. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA

Seattle
cdrin / Shutterstock.com
  • Hours of work needed to sign a rental agreement: 262
  • First month’s rent + last month’s rent + security deposit: $6,729
  • Median 2-bedroom monthly rent: $2,243
  • Median hourly wage: $25.65

10. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT

Connecticut marina.
STUDIO M / Shutterstock.com
  • Hours of work needed to sign a rental agreement: 266
  • First month’s rent + last month’s rent + security deposit: $6,795
  • Median 2-bedroom monthly rent: $2,265
  • Median hourly wage: $25.50

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

Sorbis / Shutterstock.com

  • Hours of work needed to sign a rental agreement: 273
  • First month’s rent + last month’s rent + security deposit: $6,402
  • Median 2-bedroom monthly rent: $2,134
  • Median hourly wage: $23.48

8. Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH

Byelikova Oksana / Shutterstock.com
  • Hours of work needed to sign a rental agreement: 286
  • First month’s rent + last month’s rent + security deposit: $7,329
  • Median 2-bedroom monthly rent: $2,443
  • Median hourly wage: $25.62

7. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL

Miami
Kamira / Shutterstock.com
  • Hours of work needed to sign a rental agreement: 295
  • First month’s rent + last month’s rent + security deposit: $5,241
  • Median 2-bedroom monthly rent: $1,747
  • Median hourly wage: $17.76

6. San Diego-Carlsbad, CA

The skyline of San Diego, where median rent is well below median mortgage payments
Dancestrokes / Shutterstock.com
  • Hours of work needed to sign a rental agreement: 299
  • First month’s rent + last month’s rent + security deposit: $6,483
  • Median 2-bedroom monthly rent: $2,161
  • Median hourly wage: $21.66

5. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA

Rodeo Drive Los Angeles, California
Michael Urmann / Shutterstock.com
  • Hours of work needed to sign a rental agreement: 309
  • First month’s rent + last month’s rent + security deposit: $6,339
  • Median 2-bedroom monthly rent: $2,113
  • Median hourly wage: $20.50

4. Urban Honolulu, HI

emperorcosa / Shutterstock.com
  • Hours of work needed to sign a rental agreement: 315
  • First month’s rent + last month’s rent + security deposit: $6,945
  • Median 2-bedroom monthly rent: $2,315
  • Median hourly wage: $22.07

3. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

San Jose, California
mTaira / Shutterstock.com
  • Hours of work needed to sign a rental agreement: 316
  • First month’s rent + last month’s rent + security deposit: $9,411
  • Median 2-bedroom monthly rent: $3,137
  • Median hourly wage: $29.80

2. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA

Oxnard, California
Liliya67 / Shutterstock.com
  • Hours of work needed to sign a rental agreement: 324
  • First month’s rent + last month’s rent + security deposit: $6,321
  • Median 2-bedroom monthly rent: $2,107
  • Median hourly wage: $19.49

1. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA

San Francisco
Pius Lee / Shutterstock.com
  • Hours of work needed to sign a rental agreement: 380
  • First month’s rent + last month’s rent + security deposit: $10,431
  • Median 2-bedroom monthly rent: $3,477
  • Median hourly wage: $27.42

Least expensive

15. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI

The Bronze Fonz statue
Nejdet Duzen / Shutterstock.com
  • Hours of work needed to sign a rental agreement: 149
  • First month’s rent + last month’s rent + security deposit: $2,925
  • Median 2-bedroom monthly rent: $975
  • Median hourly wage: $19.58

14. Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR

Capitol building in Little Rock, Arkansas.
W. Scott McGill / Shutterstock.com

  • Hours of work needed to sign a rental agreement: 149
  • First month’s rent + last month’s rent + security deposit: $2,565
  • Median 2-bedroom monthly rent: $855
  • Median hourly wage: $17.27

13. Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO

Washington County Courthouse in Fayetteville, Arkansas
shuttersv / Shutterstock.com

  • Hours of work needed to sign a rental agreement: 149
  • First month’s rent + last month’s rent + security deposit: $2,556
  • Median 2-bedroom monthly rent: $852
  • Median hourly wage: $17.13

12. Pittsburgh, PA

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Hours of work needed to sign a rental agreement: 148
  • First month’s rent + last month’s rent + security deposit: $2,892
  • Median 2-bedroom monthly rent: $964
  • Median hourly wage: $19.50

11. Syracuse, NY

Onondaga Park in Syracuse, New York
Mahmoud Masad / Shutterstock.com

  • Hours of work needed to sign a rental agreement: 147
  • First month’s rent + last month’s rent + security deposit: $2,856
  • Median 2-bedroom monthly rent: $952
  • Median hourly wage: $19.48

10. Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN

Doug Lemke / Shutterstock.com
  • Hours of work needed to sign a rental agreement: 147
  • First month’s rent + last month’s rent + security deposit: $2,793
  • Median 2-bedroom monthly rent: $931
  • Median hourly wage: $19.05

9. Akron, OH

Akron, Ohio
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

  • Hours of work needed to sign a rental agreement: 147
  • First month’s rent + last month’s rent + security deposit: $2,736
  • Median 2-bedroom monthly rent: $912
  • Median hourly wage: $18.57

8. Wichita, KS

Wichita, Kansas
KSwinicki / Shutterstock.com

  • Hours of work needed to sign a rental agreement: 147
  • First month’s rent + last month’s rent + security deposit: $2,613
  • Median 2-bedroom monthly rent: $871
  • Median hourly wage: $17.78

7. Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA

Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com
  • Hours of work needed to sign a rental agreement: 141
  • First month’s rent + last month’s rent + security deposit: $2,874
  • Median 2-bedroom monthly rent: $958
  • Median hourly wage: $20.37

6. Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY

Buffalo, New York
Atomazul / Shutterstock.com
  • Hours of work needed to sign a rental agreement: 141
  • First month’s rent + last month’s rent + security deposit: $2,673
  • Median 2-bedroom monthly rent: $891
  • Median hourly wage: $18.98

5. Cleveland-Elyria, OH

Allen G. / Shutterstock.com
  • Hours of work needed to sign a rental agreement: 140
  • First month’s rent + last month’s rent + security deposit: $2,730
  • Median 2-bedroom monthly rent: $910
  • Median hourly wage: $19.44

4. Winston-Salem, NC

Robert Donovan / Shutterstock.com
  • Hours of work needed to sign a rental agreement: 140
  • First month’s rent + last month’s rent + security deposit: $2,439
  • Median 2-bedroom monthly rent: $813
  • Median hourly wage: $17.38

3. Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA

Henryk Sadura / Shutterstock.com

  • Hours of work needed to sign a rental agreement: 138
  • First month’s rent + last month’s rent + security deposit: $2,232
  • Median 2-bedroom monthly rent: $744
  • Median hourly wage: $16.18

2. Toledo, OH

Toledo, Ohio
T.Slack / Shutterstock.com

  • Hours of work needed to sign a rental agreement: 136
  • First month’s rent + last month’s rent + security deposit: $2,448
  • Median 2-bedroom monthly rent: $816
  • Median hourly wage: $17.95

1. Dayton, OH

Decorative bridges in Dayton, Ohio
Madison Muskopf / Shutterstock.com

  • Hours of work needed to sign a rental agreement: 131
  • First month’s rent + last month’s rent + security deposit: $2,484
  • Median 2-bedroom monthly rent: $828
  • Median hourly wage: $19.01

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

Read Next
7 Secret Departments of Amazon You Should Know About
7 Secret Departments of Amazon You Should Know About

These little-known sections of Amazon are hidden gems for deal-seekers and impulse shoppers alike.

5 Secrets of Seniors Who Keep Their Minds ‘Young’
5 Secrets of Seniors Who Keep Their Minds ‘Young’

Here is why some seniors’ brains work as well as those of people who are decades younger.

10 Bad Money Habits That Are Robbing You Blind
10 Bad Money Habits That Are Robbing You Blind

Here’s how to change those bad behaviors.

7 Surprising Things That Damage Your Credit Score
7 Surprising Things That Damage Your Credit Score

A seemingly small stumble can cause your credit score to plummet.

The 9 Best Home Insurers for Customer Satisfaction
The 9 Best Home Insurers for Customer Satisfaction

These are the only homeowners insurance companies to earn above-average scores for customer satisfaction.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Shopping on Amazon
9 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Shopping on Amazon

Are you losing money due to any of these missteps?

7 Changes Coming to Social Security and Medicare in 2021
7 Changes Coming to Social Security and Medicare in 2021

Recently, both Social Security and Medicare made some major announcements about benefits for 2021.

Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?
Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?

The rules are complicated when it comes to eligibility for survivors benefits.

Can a Twice-Divorced Woman Claim Social Security Survivors Benefits?
Can a Twice-Divorced Woman Claim Social Security Survivors Benefits?

Understanding survivors benefits rules is the key to getting the most from your benefit.

These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation
These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation

Two types of vehicles are especially likely to see steep plunges in value.

10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s
10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s

From snacks to sweets to side dishes, stock your cart with these time-tested favorites on your next TJ’s run.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021
5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021

These adjustments will affect both workers and retirees in the new year.

11 ‘Disposable’ Items You Should Be Reusing
8 Things You Should Buy at Restaurant Supply Stores
8 Things You Should Buy at Restaurant Supply Stores

You don’t have to be a chef or a restaurant owner to shop here.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

There are easy high-paying majors available in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required. We’re here to help you find easy degrees that pay well.

Stop Buying These 19 Things Online
Stop Buying These 19 Things Online

The internet has changed how we shop. But for some things, you’re still better off buying the old-fashioned way.

Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early
Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early

Like the idea of financial independence? Part of the FIRE equation is cutting costs.

27 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free
27 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free

When you know the tricks, you can save big on all kinds of useful things that others pay for.

4 Tax Credits That Will Be More Generous in 2021
4 Tax Credits That Will Be More Generous in 2021

If you are eligible for these tax breaks, they will slash your federal income tax bill — dollar for dollar.

15 Things You Can Get for Free in December
15 Things You Can Get for Free in December

December is here, which means it’s your last chance to take advantage of fabulous freebies in 2020.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Food Supply
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Food Supply

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing emergency food supply. Is your pantry well-prepared for emergencies? Knowing what to stock up on for emergencies can be a difficult task and we’re here to help.

7 Reasons to Carry Mortgage Debt Into Retirement
7 Reasons to Carry Mortgage Debt Into Retirement

It often makes financial sense to not pay off your mortgage before retiring.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.