These are the best – and worst – US cities for renters

The most affordable, friendliest, and safest locations for renters revealed

Junction Bridge,Little Rock Arkansas USA
(Image credit: Dan Reynolds Photography/Getty)

If you're looking for a rental and are flexible in where you can move, you will want to check out these best places to rent – and take a glance at the worst ones, to make a mental note of where you might want to avoid renting. 

The pandemic has had few silver linings whether you are a property homeowner or renter, but while the market has been especially unkind to buyers, who have found themselves in the middle of an ultra-competitive and overpriced environment, renters in some areas of the US have experienced falling rents. 

A recent study by WalletHub reveals the US locations most attractive to renters. Affordability plays a key role, of course, but the study relied on an impressive 22 indicators altogether, including the proportion of homes available to rent, the cost of living in the local area, and crime rates. 

The best places to rent in the US

Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Iowa

Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Iowa

(Image credit: John Elk III / Alamy Stock Photo)

'Best' may be a tricky term when applied to a huge number of places across the country, but all of the cities in the study's top five have very important advantages over the competition.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is the most affordable; its owest median annual gross rent divided by median annual household income stands at 15.73 percent. By comparison, Hialeah, Florida has a rent-to-income ratio that is 2.5 times higher. 

If you want to be looking at somewhere that's guaranteed to have a rental available, look at Little Rock, Arkansas, which has a rental vacancy rent of 14 percent. This may sound like not a lot, but compare it with Nashua, New Hampshire, where just one percent of rentals is currently available, and you instantly see where renting will be a lot less stressful.

Residential neighborhood Turtle Rock in Irvine, Orange County, California, USA

Residential neighborhood Turtle Rock in Irvine, Orange County, California

(Image credit: GIPhotoStock Z / Alamy Stock Photo)

If the cost of living is crucial, you should consider renting in Brownsville, Texas. Living in this city as a renter is 2.7 times cheaper than in Honolulu, Hawaii.

And if safety is of top concern, then Irvine, California is your best bet. This idyllic Californian town has a violent crime rate per 1,000 residents of just 0.64. By contrast, Detroit has a rate of 19.65.

Shops on E Washington Street, Brownsville, Texas, USA

Shops on E Washington Street, Brownsville, Texas

(Image credit: Ian Dagnall / Alamy Stock Photo)

The worst places to rent in the US

Speaking of Detroit, unfortunately, this city ranked one of the worst across all categories, placing it at an unenviable spot 181 out of 182, which was taken by Huntington in West Virginia. Memphis, New Orleans, and San Bernadino, CA, made it into the bottom five, ranking low on everything from affordability to safety. Which proves that choosing a rental requires careful research. A place may be beautiful and appealing in many ways, but if it's not hospitable to renters, you may be better off looking elsewhere. 

Anna Cottrell
Anna Cottrell

Anna is Consumer Editor across Future's home brands. She moved to the world of interiors from academic research in the field of English Literature and photography. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s and has a passion for contemporary home decor, consumer rights, and gardening.

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