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January Rental Report: Only One Major Market Remains Below $1,000 Threshold

February 27 2023

Oklahoma City, Okla.; Louisville, Ky.; and Birmingham, Ala. led the nation with the cheapest monthly rent payments in January

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Feb. 24, 2023 -- The financial pain of shelling out sky-high rent is a reality for many, with median prices in some U.S. metro areas at nearly $3,000 a month. Yet, in certain metros among the country's 50 largest markets, renters can still find relative affordability, according to the Realtor.com® Monthly Rental Report released today.

Oklahoma City, Okla. is the only metro among the 50 largest in the nation where renters can find a median-priced apartment for less than $1,000 a month. The report showed that Oklahoma City offered the lowest monthly rental price in January, at $982.

There are 10 markets where median monthly rents are lower than $1,300, according to the report. Half are in the Midwest, four are in the South, and one is in the Northeast. None are in the West.

The least expensive markets are:

  • Oklahoma City, Okla. - $982
  • Louisville, Ky. - $1,167
  • Birmingham, Ala. - $1,178
  • Rochester, N.Y. - $1,235
  • Columbus, Ohio - $1,242
  • Indianapolis, Ind. - $1,266
  • Memphis, Tenn. - $1,274
  • St. Louis, Mo. - $1,279
  • Cleveland, Ohio - $1,290
  • Kansas City, Mo./Kan. - $1,298

Renters looking to take advantage of the best possible prices should move quickly. While the rents in these metros are the lowest among the 50 largest, for many of them, prices are increasing at a faster rate than in the rest of the country.

"With high rents across the country, places that offer relative affordability tend to be in high demand, which means more competition and that these lower prices might not last," said Realtor.com® Chief Economist Danielle Hale. "Many of these metros have fewer available rental homes than previous months, and fewer apartments to choose from means prices are likely to go up. Cities including Indianapolis, Birmingham, Columbus, Kansas City, Cleveland, and Rochester are among the more affordable metros that experienced the fastest year-over-year price increases in January 2023, leaving few metros that are maintaining their current level of affordability."

Many of these areas also have less rental availability than in past years, suggesting that affordable metros are increasing in popularity. For example, in the fourth quarter of 2022, the average rental vacancy rate across these least expensive markets was 7.6% — a significant drop from the 9.7% vacancy rate in the fourth quarter 2017. However, seven of the most-affordable areas still had greater vacancy rates than the country's average, which was last tracked at 5.8% nationwide.

Nationwide, rent growth for studio to two-bedroom properties continued to slow. Median rent was down 2.9% year-over-year, the lowest growth rate in 22 months. In comparison, January 2022 rent was up 16.2% from the year prior.

Last month was the twelfth month of cooling rent growth and the sixth month in a row with a single-digit rate increase. The median asking rent in the 50 largest metros declined to $1,726, down by $7 from last month and $80 less than the August 2022 peak of $1,806. Yet, rental prices are still up 20.6% ($295 higher) from pre-pandemic January 2020.

Rental Data – 50 Largest Metropolitan Areas – January 2023

rdc January 2023 Rental Report


Rental data as of January for studio, 1-bedroom, or 2-bedroom units advertised as for-rent on Realtor.com®. Rental units include apartments as well as private rentals (condos, townhomes, single-family homes). We use rental sources that reliably report data each month within the top 50 largest metropolitan areas. Realtor.com® began publishing regular monthly rental trends reports in October 2020 with data history stretching back to March 2019.

With the release of its January rent report, Realtor.com® incorporated a new and improved methodology for capturing and reporting more comprehensive rental listing trends and metrics. The new methodology is expected to yield a cleaner, more representative and more consistent measurement of rental listings and trends at both the national and local level. The methodology has been adjusted to better represent the true cost of primary housing for renters. Most areas across the country will see minor changes with a smaller handful of areas seeing larger updates. As a result of these changes, the rental data released since January 2023 will not be directly comparable with previous releases and Realtor.com® economics blog posts. However, future data releases, including historical data, will consistently apply the new methodology.

About Realtor.com®

Realtor.com® is an open real estate marketplace built for everyone. Realtor.com® pioneered the world of digital real estate more than 25 years ago. Today, through its website and mobile apps, Realtor.com® is a trusted guide for consumers, empowering more people to find their way home by breaking down barriers, helping them make the right connections, and creating confidence through expert insights and guidance. For professionals, Realtor.com® is a trusted partner for business growth, offering consumer connections and branding solutions that help them succeed in today's on-demand world. Realtor.com® is operated by News Corp [Nasdaq: NWS, NWSA] [ASX: NWS, NWSLV] subsidiary Move, Inc. For more information, visit Realtor.com.