The cost of living, the cost of renting, and housing costs are at an all-time high in major American cities, and the rent is likely to continue rising as the nation recovers from COVID-19. Regardless, it’s pretty status quo to hunt for a new place when your landlord raises your rent. However, in the search of lower rent, you sometimes end up in less than ideal living conditions, especially in expensive urban areas like New York or San Francisco. 

Rather than stay in the big city and run from one apartment to another when the rent increases, why not consider moving to a city with a low cost of living and a higher quality of life? Now’s the time to find a new apartment in one of these inexpensive cities or towns in America.

Ten inexpensive cities to rent an apartment in America 

Raleigh, North Carolina 

We’re not shy about our love for Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina. While rent is rising in Raleigh,  a one-bedroom apartment in Raleigh still only costs $1,244 on average, below the national average for rent, and a two-bedroom apartment will cost you $1,424 on average.  While Raleigh’s average cost of living is just slightly lower than the national average, neighboring Durham’s cost of living is 10% lower than the national average, giving you access to this charming Southern city close by. 

The reason for this small city’s popularity? The job market in Raleigh is hot for young professionals with tens of thousands of opportunities in the tech industry and energy sector available to residents. Getting a new higher-paying gig and lowering your rent at the same time? That’s a sweet deal.

Provo, Utah

Forty-four minutes driving from Salt Lake City, Provo is nestled at the base of the incredible Wasatch Mountain range, close to Utah Lake, and it is home to a population of outdoorsy and artsy renters. If you love to hike, ski, and fish, you can find an affordable place in Provo: Most one-bedroom apartments range from $1,000-$1,500, with $1,099 being the average for monthly rent in Provo. Ample outdoor activities, low crime rates, and great public schools make this small town so idyllic for those seeking to move to the midwest. 

If you’d like to be in a larger city, you can also rent in nearby Salt Lake City, with an average rent price of $1,300. 

Minneapolis, Minnesota 

Rent is lowering in fabulous midwestern cities like Minneapolis, with its lush city parks and green spaces framing urban architecture and over 300 pieces of public art. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Minneapolis, MN is currently $1,195.

Minneapolis was most recently ranked one of the nation’s best U.S. cities to retire, and one of the best places for older renters to live if they’re still working. Retiree and older renters can enjoy incredibly low costs for healthcare, and greater access to part-time and full-time employment. In your leisure time, they can enjoy walks through Loring Park with its many gorgeous biking and walking trails, or see nearly 10,000 pieces of art on display at the Minneapolis Art Institute

An image of Minneapolis at sunrise with buildings glistening in the morning sun

Midland, Texas

In the heart of cowboy country, is Midland, Texas. What used to be considered a sleepy industrial city is also a historic gem with attractions such as The Museum of the Southwest, honky-tonks such as Permian Basin Dance Club, and The Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center.  Midland is located on the high plains with a wide-open blue so city slickers may have to adjust to their new lifestyle in a quieter urban setting. 

One of the perks of living in Midland is that you can save money as you will definitely spend less. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Midland, TX is only $971, and Midland residents have the second highest personal income in the entire United States.

Austin, Texas 

Another incredible city in the Lonestar State! Austin is well known for its barbeque, its thriving live music scene (Austin City Limits, anyone?), and its friendly residents, all the reasons to relocate. But outside its reputation, Austin is homey, with a number of cozy coffee shops, nurseries, thrift stores, and streets lined with lush foliage. It’ll feel like your hometown in no time at all.

We know that Austin has its reputation as a pricey city in Texas, but compared to expensive cities New York City or Los Angeles, Austin looks pretty appealing. Renters in Austin enjoy relatively inexpensive necessities such as cheaper gas and groceries, and the perks of no state income tax. Although homebuyers might have a tough time securing an affordable place, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Austin, TX is only $1,475. Austin’s unique architecture also makes it tempting to rent a single-family home

An image of two people shopping for plants in Austin

Lincoln, Nebraska

One of the cheapest cities on our list is also one of the prettiest. Located on the west’s high plains with a cloudless sky above, life in Lincoln is peaceful with young families thriving in this close-knit community. Residents can visit the city’s Sunken Gardens or the Nebraska State Capitol, with the family-friendly University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus located inside the city limits. Homecoming concerts, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, live concerts, and sporting events all put on by the college make Lincoln warm and welcoming to all. 

Moving to the west may mean living in a smaller city, but little metropolises like Lincoln have a high quality of life that won’t cost you much. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Lincoln, NE is currently $870. Living in Lincoln, Nebraska also means you’ll enjoy a cost of living that is 11% lower than the national average, and home values that are 17% lower than the national average

Omaha, Nebraska

Yet another cozy college town in Nebraska, Omaha is the largest city in Nebraska, giving renters more living options than in Lincoln. To live in Omaha is to live in a place known for its pioneering history, and its residents still love to get rugged in a city filled with hiking and biking trails, parks, gardens, five area lakes and two rivers for fishing and boating.  Home to the University of Nebraska-Omaha and Creighton University, renters have ample educational opportunities in case they want to level up job credentials. 

The cost of living in Omaha is 8% lower than the national average, and renters here will save an average of 14% on utilities and pay less rent. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Omaha, NE is currently $858.

Kansas City, Missouri

KCMO is the midwest’s best-kept secret, a place so packed with character and culture that lifelong residents are still discovering new parts of the city to explore. Renters in Kansas City are nostalgic for America’s mid-century as thrifting is key to maintaining a low cost of living. The city is saturated with record stores and secondhand shops, but for those who love luxury shopping, you can live near the Plaza. The Plaza is essential to Kansas City, as it is the epicenter of shopping, events, and cultural happenings in the metro area.   

You’ll have plenty of money for shopping in KC, as it is one of the most affordable cities in America. The cost of living in Kansas City is cheaper than in 87% of cities in the US, and the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Kansas City, MO is only $930. If you’re in the market to buy, home prices are also low, with the median price being only $319,587

Memphis, Tennessee

Is it possible to mention Memphis without name-dropping Graceland? If it’s good enough for Elvis, it’s good enough for us. Besides this very popular tourist attraction, Memphis makes the list due to its arts and culture, with historic neighborhoods such as Beale Street and South Main Arts District. These incredible hubs boast live and local music, delicious Southern eats, and most of the shops and businesses stay open late, for ambient evenings spent meandering the Memphis streets. It’s not hard to fall hard for affordable Memphis, Tennessee.

What’s more lovable is that Memphis's housing expenses are a whopping 34% lower than the national average. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in University of Memphis, TN is currently $891.

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Last but not least is one of the best places to live in the U.S. After all, Virginia Beach is one of the only inexpensive beach towns left! Surfing, jet-skiing, parasailing, dolphin spotting; temperate waters on the east coast enable residents to enjoy a number of different water sports, and the city’s proximity to First Landing State Park means you can hike year-round. 

While the cost of living is slightly higher than other affordable cities on this list, there is a lot of affordable housing available for renters who want to live beachside. The ajority of rentals fall between $1,000 and $1,500 per month, and the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Virginia Beach, VA is currently $1,300.

An image of two kids using binoculars at Virginia Beach

We’re all on the hunt for cheap rent, but quality quarters. At some point,  it may be time to part ways with expensive cities, and instead move to an affordable place with a stable housing and rental market. These metropolitan areas demonstrate that all cities have their charm, especially when you can afford a better life at a lower cost.

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KT Heins-Nagamoto

KT Heins-Nagamoto is a senior brand writer at Rhino. They advocate for security deposit alternatives and renter rights in everything they write.