Most Expensive Cities to Rent a Home

Rents across the country have gone through a period of historical growth in the past two years. According to real estate research firm CoStar Group, rents in the U.S. rose 11.3% last year. In contrast, over the previous five years, gross rents increased by 18.1%.

Rising rent prices are the result of soaring inflation and a squeeze on inventory. This lack of supply relative to demand comes as the number of people seeking to rent has increased substantially during the pandemic, while the number of available properties has been limited by shortages of building materials and other delays in construction resulting from the pandemic. This is how many people have died from COVID in each state.

To determine the metros with the highest rent, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed five-year estimates of median gross rent from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey. The median gross rent across the United States is $1,096, and in these 50 metropolitan areas, it ranges from $1,203 to as high as $2,365.

In many of the places where rent costs are higher, a higher share of housing units are occupied by renters, rather than homeowners. This is largely because these places have more expensive housing markets as a whole, meaning residents are priced out of the possibility of owning a home and are forced to rent. The U.S. median home value is $229,800. In the San Jose metropolitan area, the most expensive rental market nationwide, the typical home is valued at more than $1,000,000, the highest of any metro area.

Of the 50 metro areas with the most expensive rent, California has by far the most, with 16, followed by Florida with five and Colorado with four. Hawaii, which as a state has the highest average rent, at $1,651, has both of its metro areas featured on this list. (These are the states with the highest rent.)

This includes the Urban Honolulu metro area, which ranks fifth on this list, with a median gross rent of $1,779.

Generally, the metropolitan areas with the highest rents tend to have higher household incomes. However, even after accounting for those higher incomes, rent in these places is less affordable than is typical across the country. For the U.S. as a whole, median gross rent amounts to 29.6% of the median household income. In the vast majority of the metropolitan areas on this list, median gross rent amounts to at least 30% of the median household income.

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