City Saver: Expert Reveals Affordability Across 28 U.S. Metros 

A study by SpareRoom found that Kansas City, San Antonio, and Raleigh are the most affordable metro areas for renters in the US, while New York, San Francisco Bay Area, and Los Angeles are the least affordable.

Here are some additional details from the article:

* The study analyzed average roommate rents over a three-year period from Q1 2020 to Q1 2023.

* The study found that rents have increased in most major metro areas in the past three years.

* The study found that renters are more likely to consider affordability when choosing a city to live in, due to the rise of remote work.

* The study concluded that renters should consider regional differences and market trends when making decisions about where to live.

  • Midwestern Value: Cities in the Midwest, such as Kansas City ($550), offer the most affordable rents in the U.S., providing a significant value proposition for renters looking for lower costs of living.
  • Southern Affordability: Southern cities like San Antonio ($650), Atlanta ($810), and Charlotte ($769) present more affordable options when compared to many coastal cities, potentially due to lower costs of living and less population density.
  • Coastal Expense: Northeastern and Western coastal cities like New York ($1,316), San Francisco Bay Area ($1,274), and Los Angeles ($1,203) command higher rents, reflecting the high demand and cost of living in these areas.

In recent years, the US rental market has seen considerable shifts, with affordability becoming an increasingly pressing issue for many renters. To help navigate this evolving landscape, the roommate matching site, SpareRoom, has analyzed rental data from Q1 2020 to Q1 2023 to rank 26 major metro areas in the US based on their affordability.

The analysis considers the average roommate rents over the three-year period from Q1 2020 to Q1 2023, aiming to guide renters in identifying the most affordable rental markets and highlighting the disparities between cities. Taking a longer time frame into consideration has multiple advantages. It guarantees stability and dependability by minimizing short-term fluctuations and seasonal variations. It also takes into account significant events that may impact rental affordability and market dynamics. 

*At the bottom, you can find average rent data and rank for Q1 2020 to 2023 vs. for Q1 2023. 

Most Affordable Cities 

The analysis reveals that Kansas City ($550), San Antonio ($650), and Raleigh ($729) are the top three most affordable metro areas for renters in the US based on average roommate rents from Q1 2020 to Q1 2023. With average rents significantly lower than other cities, these locations offer excellent opportunities for renters seeking affordability (see graph below).

Least Affordable Cities 

On the other end of the spectrum, New York ($1,316), San Francisco Bay Area ($1,274), and Los Angeles ($1,203) are the least affordable metro areas for renters based on average roommate rents from Q1 2020 to Q1 2023. With higher average rents, these cities pose affordability challenges for many renters (see graph below). 

Regional Differences: 

The data highlights noticeable regional differences in rental affordability. Southern and Midwestern cities like Atlanta ($810), Charlotte ($769), and Kansas City ($550) offer more affordable rents compared to coastal cities such as New York ($1,316), Los Angeles ($1,203), and San Francisco ($1,274) based on the average roommate rents from Q1 2020 to Q1 2023. This trend suggests that renters may find better opportunities in less densely populated regions.

Matt Hutchinson, Communications Director at SpareRoom:

“The US rental market has seen huge changes in the past three years, with most major metro areas seeing rents hit record highs in recent months. As is so often the case, it’s the cheaper cities that have seen rents increase most, as renters look for more affordable options. With home working increasingly common since the pandemic, it means people are more able than ever to make their choices based on average rents, not just distance from the office.”


This rental affordability ranking equips renters with valuable insights, emphasizing the need to consider regional differences and market trends. By examining these rankings, renters can make informed decisions, finding the ideal balance between affordability, job opportunities, quality of life, and future growth prospects.

Ranking the cities Q1 2020 to Q1 2023

Metro areasRankAverage Price Q1 2020 – Q1 2023
Kansas City1$550
San Antonio2$650
Las Vegas8$746
Virginia Beach10$719
Washington D.C.22$1,100
San Diego25$1,104
San Francisco Bay Area26$1,274
Los Angeles27$1,203
New York28$1,316

Ranking the cities Q1 2023

Metro areasRankQ1 2023
Kansas City1$468
San Antonio2$664
Las Vegas8$860
Virginia Beach10$867
Washington D.C.22$1,204
San Diego25$1,280
San Francisco Bay Area26$1,309
Los Angeles27$1,316
New York28$1,525

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