As the pandemic slowly begins to recede, rents that plummeted in numerous cities are beginning to rise again. In many places, higher than they were before. But head away from the big cities and you’ll find plenty of cheap places. It’s no surprise the cheapest cities for renters are away from the coasts and metropolises, in suburbs and tucked-away enclaves mostly concentrated in Southern and Midwestern states.
Out of nearly 800 cities in the nation with 10 or more rental units, only these 10 cheap places to rent offer an average one-bedroom unit less than $650 making them the 10 cheapest places to rent in America.
10. Ashland, OH
9. Gulfport, MS
8. Springfield, MO
7. Henderson, KY
6. Youngstown, OH
5. Killeen, TX
4. Brownsville, TX
3. Elyria, OH
2. Terre Haute, IN
1. Lawton, OK
Not everyone can live in one of the cities with the cheapest rent in America. So, when you’re searching for a new home, whether it be in a new place or elsewhere in your current place, how can you still keep your lease costs down?
1. Pare down your must-haves
If you’re looking to save some money, decide which of your desired amenities are most important and which you can live without. When you have fewer must-haves on your list, more options will open to you for an affordable lease.
2. Be open to a smaller apartment
Think about just how much time you spend at home compared to at work or out on the town, and consider opting for a smaller apartment. If you can give up some of that square footage, you’ll bring the price of the lease down.
3. Be open to different neighborhoods
Downtowns and trendy gentrified neighborhoods are usually more expensive. Instead, find a more residential neighborhood in your city or a lower-income section of town that’s targeted for future redevelopment. Or, find a convenient cheaper suburb with access to public transportation to live in, even if you work and play in the city.
4. Be open to different cities
If your job is transportable to any city or you work a remote job, consider a move to a different city. Everyone might want to live in New York or L.A., but you can find amazing nightlife, sports and fun in places like Indianapolis, Memphis or Denver for much less money.
Just because an apartment lists for a particular price, that doesn’t mean that’s the price you have to pay. Meet with the landlord and see if you can negotiate the price down. Be respectful and willing to compromise. Come with two prices in mind: The one you open with and the one you’re willing to pay. Bring reference letters and show you’d be a good tenant. Also, remember it’s OK to walk away if you can’t get your price.
6. Look for subsidies
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development offers a number of subsidies and grants for renters with a lower income who have trouble affording rent. Check out the HUD website and see if you qualify.
Michael Hochman is a freelance writer who is based in Philadelphia and writes articles for ApartmentGuide, nexxt.com, Ale Street News and Radio TV Interview Report Magazine. He also sits on the board of a non-profit law firm that assists veterans with disabilities.