Mission Impossible: Where in the U.S. Can You Rent for $500?

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Renting in some of the country’s top cities usually comes with a hefty price tag. But, if you’re not set on moving to New York or San Francisco, there are some great affordable alternatives for you, albeit in smaller cities.

So, we went apartment hunting and looked at an extensive number of listings across the country, with the main criteria being rents less than $500 per month. While such a low monthly rent for an apartment could sound like an impossible mission, we set out to defy all odds and find the best, most impressive rentals out there.

You may get a small-sized apartment with this budget, but you’ll also have access to numerous amenities and convenient locations. Although it might be hard to believe there are such affordable options out there, we can guarantee that all of them are 100% real because they come directly from property managers, as do all the listings on rentcafe.com.

Without further ado – and in no particular order – here’s what $500 per month can get you in ten affordable U.S. cities:

1. GreenvilleOH

Living in Greenville means more than just living in a historic town with affordable apartments. It’s also fun! Here, you can spend your time visiting museums, parks, theaters, bowling alleys or just stay at home and enjoy the 624 sq. ft. you wouldn’t normally get in popular cities for this price. What’s more, you also get access to a basketball court, a BBQ/picnic area and a basketball court.

2. Wichita, KS

  • Listing: Eagle Creek
  • Monthly Rent: $481
  • Layout: Studio / 1 bath

Is Wichita renowned for its lavish parties and entertainment? No. But are there lots of fun things to do around there? Also no. However, living in Wichita does come with a quaint, suburban lifestyle in which you have access to plenty of parks, great restaurants and coffee shops. And with only $481 per month for a studio apartment, you’re sure to enjoy this lovely city as you lounge away at the pool or spend time with friends at the community clubhouse.

While it’s no Las Vegas, Wichita is where you can enjoy living a slow-paced life, including visiting museums and taking in all the beauty at the numerous art galleries in the area. And with all the money you save on rent and the cost of living, you can still afford to visit those livelier cities whenever you crave some fun.

3. LawtonOK

You might not find amazing touristy spots in Lawton, but that’s for the best – nobody likes crowded cities anyway. This city is located in southwest Oklahoma, and those looking to move here should know that there are some great Lawton apartments for rent – without having to shell out half the paycheck every month.

Specifically, this lovely 440 sq. ft. studio comes with modern features, spacious closets and plenty of cabinet storage. Plus, a Hibachi Grill area and an year-round heated spa are just some of the perks that come with living here. But, if you need more, know that there’s also a 24-hour fitness center, exciting resident events, a DVD library and much more.

4. Amarillo, TX

An average city, with an average population, but with better than average rent prices. Living in Amarillo has its own perks and one of them is the chance to rent this one bedroom apartment in a complex that offers a BBQ/Picnic area, an outdoor fitness courtyard and two sparkling pools to relax at after a long day at work.

Plus, the apartments come with air conditioning, fireplace and newly-upgraded interiors, as well as vaulted ceilings – not to mention the property’s outdoor grilling area and gazebo.

5. Indianapolis, IN

Indianapolis is one of the best places to put down roots and it’s also a good example of how affordable rentals can be found in larger cities as well. In particular, a great find among the many Indianapolis apartments is this cozy studio that goes for just $528 per month. It features balconies, central AC and a swimming pool where you can relax as much as you want.

Furthermore, its location in Lawrence means you can easily reach any central location, as well as popular entertainment spots like Grassy Creek Park or Buffalo Wild Wings.

6. SearcyAR

You may not have heard of Searcy until now, but if you’re looking to move to a small city, then you’re in luck, because this is the smallest one on this list. And, it’s also the only one that offers a 2 bedroom apartment for the incredible price of only $460 a month. Here, a gazebo, lakes and ponds – as well as a club room with a kitchen and fireplace – are just some of the great benefits you get when living here.

As a matter of fact, living in Searcy might be just the right option for you as you’re sure to find many great bargains in the area. Plus, it’s just 50 miles away from Little Rock.

7. ShreveportLA

The charm of living in a city that offers great food and lots of green spaces is amplified by its low rents and cozy rental communities. Specifically, a clubhouse, three sparkling pools and two tennis courts are just some of the amazing perks you get for $500 per month at this property. Living in Shreveport also means that you’re just minutes from popular restaurants and bars, and this particular property is also located near numerous shopping options.

8. JacksonMS

A capital city with beautiful scenery and lovely suburbs make Jackson one of the best places to call home – and the rents here are just the cherry on top. Jackson apartments, in general, are quite affordable, and for $450 a month, you can rent this one bedroom apartment that comes with many benefits, such as a balcony, air conditioning, a BBQ area and much more.

9. Queenstown, MD

  • Listing: Slippery Hill 
  • Monthly Rent: $440
  • Layout: 1 bed / 1 bath

If living in a coastal town such as Queenstown is not enough to convince you, wait until you hear about the square footage. Although some apartments in Queenstown could go for higher prices,  you’ll spend just $440 a month for this one. For that kind of money, you get to enjoy living in a 729 sq. ft. apartment with high ceilings, efficient appliances and large closets. It’s also located within minutes of commercial and retail spaces.

Plus, if you’re a fan of the outdoors, then you should know that this property is surrounded by nature trails, perfect for spending your days wandering the woodlands.

10. SpringfieldMO

Living in Springfield comes with everything you might need – and more. In fact, there’s enough entertainment and cultural options here so that you may never get bored, plus highly affordable rent prices. For just $500 a month, you get to rent a 700 sq. ft. apartment, which is definitely more space than you’d find in other cities for this amount.

Not only that, but the spacious apartment also comes with a basketball/volleyball court, a pool and a sun deck. What more could you want?


Disclaimer: Prices and availability valid as of September 18, 2020, and may be subject to change. 

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Florentina Sarac is a creative writer, editor, and researcher for RENTCafé. She covers a variety of topics, from real estate trends, demographic shifts, housing industry news and multifamily construction to homeownership, smart-home technology, personal finance and business. With a 9-year background in the real estate industry, Florentina has also penned articles for publications such as Multi-Housing News, Commercial Property Executive and the National Apartment Association Magazine. You can connect with Florentina via email.

Florentina’s work and expertise have been featured in several major U.S. and international publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bisnow, The Mercury News, Curbed, The NY Post, CBS News, Business Insider and Realtor.com. She holds a B.A. in English and Spanish, as well as an M.A. in Multilingual and Multicultural Communication, which serve as a testament to her love of literature and language.

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