Apartment hunting? Here are the 10 cheapest cities for renters

At a time when rents are skyrocketing nationwide, remote work options that emerged during the pandemic could offer a silver lining.

Living close to the office and spending on expensive housing is now becoming a choice for many Americans. With companies like Twitter, Verizon and Apple, which are based out of cities with a high cost of living, offering employees the choice to go fully remote, the decision of where to live is now in the hands of the employees.

Nationwide, rent prices have significantly increased year-over-year. In February, one- and two-bedroom rents were up 24% and 22%, respectively. The top three most expensive cities in February were New York; Santa Monica, California; and Jersey City, New Jersey.

In New York, studios run an average of $4,179 for a studio, a one-bedroom lease runs for $5,347 and a two-bedroom is $7,384 a month, according to Rent.com.

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So where should you be looking for affordable rentals? What are the big cities with the cheapest rent?

“Overall, rent prices are going up everywhere, and some of these cheap cities are seeing rent price increases as well,” says Brian Carberry, senior managing editor at Rent.com. “But there are still affordable places across the country to live.”

To determine the cities with the cheapest rent in the U.S., Carberry and his team studied the average rental rates for every large city with a population of over 50,000 and sufficient rental inventory of all common apartment layouts – studios, one-bedrooms and two-bedrooms.

From this list of 78 cities, Rent.com rated and ranked rents for all unit types, which were then totaled together for a combined score. Among cities that made the list are Indianapolis and San Antonio, Texas.

For renters who can work from anywhere, here are a few cities that will not break your bank:

1. Grand Forks, North Dakota

Grand Forks, North Dakota

Population: 55,839.

Studio Rent: $676.

1-BR Rent: $800.

2-BR Rent: $890.

2. Fargo, North Dakota

Fargo, North Dakota

Population: 124,662.

Studio Rent: $626.

1-BR Rent: $826.

2-BR Rent: $936.

3. Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Population: 220,236.

Studio Rent: $586.

1-BR Rent: $1,056.

2-BR Rent: $1,088.

4. (tie) Omaha, Nebraska

Omaha, Nebraska

Population: 478,192.

Studio Rent: $827.

1-BR Rent: $983.

2-BR Rent: $1,343.

4. (tie) San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Population: 1,547,253.

Studio Rent: $750.

1-BR Rent: $1,078.

2-BR Rent: $1,304.

6. (tie) Indianapolis

Indianapolis, Indiana

Population: 876,384.

Studio Rent: $1,063.

1-BR Rent: $1,072.

2-BR Rent: $1,298.

6. (tie) Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis, Tennessee

Population: 651,073.

Studio Rent: $1,016.

1-BR Rent: $1,138.

2-BR Rent: $1,201.

8. Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Population: 247,945.

Studio Rent: $1,026.

1-BR Rent: $1,123.

2-BR Rent: $1,373.

9. (tie) Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Population: 560,513.

Studio Rent: $923.

1-BR Rent: $1,165.

2-BR Rent: $1,412.

9. (tie) Des Moines, Iowa

Des Moines, Iowa

Population: 214,237

Studio Rent: $904

1-BR Rent: $1,221

2-BR Rent: $1,393

Swapna Venugopal Ramaswamy is the housing and economy reporter for USA TODAY. Follow her on Twitter @SwapnaVenugopal