U.S. Cities With the Highest Rent Prices

While inflation in most sectors of the economy has improved over the last year, the cost of shelter in the U.S. continues to remain high for many consumers. Inflation data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in October 2023 revealed that while the Consumer Price Index overall was up 3.7% year-over-year, the index for shelter had risen 7.2% over the same span. Increasing rent prices have been a major reason why.

The dynamics of the rental market in recent years largely reflect simple supply and demand. In the years following the housing crash and Great Recession, the number of new housing projects plummeted and were slow to recover over the course of the 2010s. Around the same time, the Millennial generation—America’s largest, with more than 72 million members—began to reach adulthood, introducing greater demand in the market.

Economic conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated issues with the rental market. As fast-rising real estate values priced more people out of homebuying, rental markets became more competitive among consumers. On the supply side, inflation in the cost of materials, rising interest rates, and tightness in the labor market have all contributed to difficulties in developing new housing stock.

Rental Supply & Prices Over Time

A historically tight rental market drove prices up at the fastest rate since the 1980s

A historically tight rental market drove prices up at the fastest rate since the 1980s
Source: Construction Coverage analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data | Image Credit: Construction Coverage

All of these issues have come to a head over the last couple of years. The combined crunch of limited supply and high demand have driven the national rental vacancy rate—a key metric used to track the availability of rental housing—to its lowest levels since the late 1980s. With fewer units available, prices have risen dramatically. The year-over-year change in rental prices leaped from a recent low of 1.8% in Q2 2021 to 8.6% in Q2 2023.


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Residential Rent Prices by Location

Top coastal states are about twice as expensive as the Midwest for renters

Top coastal states are about twice as expensive as the Midwest for renters
Source: Construction Coverage analysis of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development data | Image Credit: Construction Coverage

However, the impact of rent increases has not been felt evenly across the U.S., as renters in some locations face much higher costs than in others. Recently released data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) shows that nine states have median market rents topping $2,000 per month, led by California at $2,690. On top of national supply and demand dynamics, many of the most expensive locations face more intense demand due to strong local economies alongside more severe supply constraints resulting from laws and regulations that make it difficult to add housing.

The most expensive states are, unsurprisingly, also home to some of the nation’s most expensive metropolitan areas for renters. California is home to all of the top 10 most expensive metros overall, with San Jose ($3,451) leading the large metro cohort, Salinas ($3,353) leading the midsize cohort, and Santa Cruz ($4,134) leading the small cohort. Other major metros like Boston, Seattle, and New York are not far behind.

Below is a complete breakdown of rental prices across more than 350 metropolitan areas grouped by size and all 50 states. The analysis was conducted by researchers at Construction Coverage using data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. For more information on how each statistic was computed, refer to the methodology section below.

Most & Least Expensive Large Metros for Renters

Top MetrosMedian Rent
1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA$3,451
2. San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA$3,175
3. San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA$3,141
4. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA$2,777
5. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH$2,740
6. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA$2,692
7. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA$2,589
8. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL$2,450
9. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA$2,441
10. Sacramento-Roseville-Folsom, CA$2,415
11. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO$2,373
12. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA$2,245
13. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV$2,212
14. Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, AZ$2,198
15. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL$2,181
Bottom MetrosMedian Rent
1. Cleveland-Elyria, OH$1,203
2. Oklahoma City, OK$1,226
3. Tulsa, OK$1,235
4. Milwaukee-Waukesha, WI$1,246
5. Pittsburgh, PA$1,261
6. Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN$1,269
7. Buffalo-Cheektowaga, NY$1,277
8. St. Louis, MO-IL$1,316
9. Rochester, NY$1,365
10. Columbus, OH$1,390
11. Louisville-Jefferson County, KY-IN$1,406
12. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI$1,414
13. Kansas City, MO-KS$1,422
14. Birmingham-Hoover, AL$1,441
15. Grand Rapids-Kentwood, MI$1,451


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Most & Least Expensive Midsize Metros for Renters

Top MetrosMedian Rent
1. Salinas, CA$3,353
2. Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA$3,345
3. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA$2,879
4. Vallejo, CA$2,845
5. Urban Honolulu, HI$2,649
6. Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA$2,632
7. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT$2,451
8. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL$2,132
9. Trenton-Princeton, NJ$2,075
10. Colorado Springs, CO$2,048
11. Naples-Marco Island, FL$2,044
12. Fort Collins, CO$2,017
13. Stockton, CA$2,012
14. Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL$1,967
15. Port St. Lucie, FL$1,962
Bottom MetrosMedian Rent
1. Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA$917
2. Canton-Massillon, OH$988
3. Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL$1,014
4. Peoria, IL$1,024
5. Springfield, MO$1,038
6. Toledo, OH$1,070
7. Brownsville-Harlingen, TX$1,070
8. Wichita, KS$1,116
9. Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH$1,118
10. Lafayette, LA$1,118
11. Dayton-Kettering, OH$1,130
12. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX$1,133
13. Lansing-East Lansing, MI$1,134
14. Akron, OH$1,142
15. Flint, MI$1,158

Most & Least Expensive Small Metros for Renters

Top MetrosMedian Rent
1. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA$4,134
2. Napa, CA$3,014
3. San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, CA$2,559
4. Boulder, CO$2,519
5. Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI$2,499
6. Bremerton-Silverdale-Port Orchard, WA$2,271
7. Barnstable Town, MA$2,209
8. Flagstaff, AZ$2,153
9. California-Lexington Park, MD$2,144
10. Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater, WA$2,081
11. Bend, OR$2,043
12. Charlottesville, VA$2,002
13. Hilton Head Island-Bluffton, SC$1,930
14. Burlington-South Burlington, VT$1,897
15. Kingston, NY$1,880
Bottom MetrosMedian Rent
1. Fort Smith, AR-OK$945
2. Mansfield, OH$967
3. Cedar Rapids, IA$986
4. Wheeling, WV-OH$991
5. Jefferson City, MO$995
6. Weirton-Steubenville, WV-OH$1,003
7. Johnstown, PA$1,003
8. Decatur, IL$1,009
9. Terre Haute, IN$1,016
10. Kingsport-Bristol, TN-VA$1,026
11. Jonesboro, AR$1,026
12. Joplin, MO$1,026
13. Sheboygan, WI$1,030
14. Anniston-Oxford, AL$1,032
15. Fargo, ND-MN$1,032

Most & Least Expensive States for Renters

Top StatesMedian Rent
1. California$2,690
2. Hawaii$2,590
3. Massachusetts$2,431
4. New York$2,306
5. Washington$2,243
6. Colorado$2,141
7. Maryland$2,121
8. New Jersey$2,075
9. Florida$2,051
10. Arizona$1,976
11. Nevada$1,904
12. Connecticut$1,897
13. Oregon$1,858
14. Rhode Island$1,834
15. Virginia$1,815
Bottom StatesMedian Rent
1. Iowa$1,061
2. North Dakota$1,063
3. West Virginia$1,106
4. Arkansas$1,113
5. South Dakota$1,125
6. Nebraska$1,137
7. Ohio$1,163
8. Oklahoma$1,165
9. Kansas$1,180
10. Wisconsin$1,183
11. Kentucky$1,191
12. Missouri$1,192
13. Montana$1,194
14. Mississippi$1,216
15. Indiana$1,242


The data used in this study is from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 2024 50th Percentile Rent Estimates dataset and the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2022 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates. To determine the locations with the highest rent prices, researchers at Construction Coverage calculated a median monthly rent estimate across all rental types in each location. This estimate was calculated as a weighted average of each location’s median monthly rent price across each rental size category (i.e. studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, etc.). The weights used in the calculation were the number of renter-occupied housing units belonging to each size category as reported by the Census Bureau in 2022. In the event of a tie, the location with the greater one-bedroom rent was ranked above.

Only locations with populations of 100,000 or more and data available from all sources were included. To improve relevance, metropolitan areas were grouped into size cohorts based on population: small (100,000–349,999), midsize (350,000–999,999), and large (1,000,000 or more).


  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2023, October 12). Consumer Price Index News Release. https://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/cpi_10122023.htm
  2. Khan, A., Weller, C., and Roberts, L. (2022, August 22). The Rental Housing Crisis Is a Supply Problem That Needs Supply Solutions. Center for American Progress. https://www.americanprogress.org/article/the-rental-housing-crisis-is-a-supply-problem-that-needs-supply-solutions/
  3. Marcum. (2023, August 9). Construction Industry Struggling With Inflation, Changing Economic Dynamics. Consulting-Specifying Engineer. https://www.csemag.com/articles/construction-industry-struggling-with-inflation-changing-economic-dynamics/
  4. Schuetz, J. (2022, February 22). Commentary: Dysfunctional policies have broken America’s housing supply chain. Brookings. https://www.brookings.edu/articles/dysfunctional-policies-have-broken-americas-housing-supply-chain/
  5. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). (2023). 50TH PERCENTILE RENT ESTIMATES. https://www.huduser.gov/portal/datasets/50per.html
  6. U.S. Census Bureau. (2023). American Community Survey (ACS). https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs

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