Dreaming of Living in a House as a Renter? Here Are The Most Affordable Single-Family Rental Markets in the U.S.

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  • In 20 markets across the nation, renters spent less than $1,700 to live in a single-family rental.
  • The Midwest is the leading region for affordable single-family homes for rent with 8 locations on our list.
  • In almost half of the top 20 most affordable metros for single-family rentals, the average monthly rent was below the $1,500 mark.

There’s good news for those hoping to make their dream of a white-picket-fence life come true: Although homeownership might not be in the cards just yet, renting a single-family home can be a great alternative. In fact, with construction of build-to-rent homes on the rise, achieving the American dream without having to worry about growing house prices or interest rates has become much easier.

According to a RentCafe analysis of Yardi Matrix data, in 20 U.S. metros, you can rent affordable houses that are priced below $1,700.

The Midwest is the number one region when it comes to the most affordable single-family homes, represented by 8 metros on the list. Lafayette-Lake Charles, LA and Clarksville, TN take the first and second spots, respectively, with Milwaukee, WI hot on their heels.

1. Lafayette-Lake Charles, LA

lafayette lake charles most affordable single family rental market

Separated by only 74 miles, this metro area that encompasses the fourth and fifth most populous cities in Louisiana, respectively, ranks as the most affordable single-family rental market. It only costs $1,203 to rent a single-family home in what was dubbed “The Happiest City in America”. This Southern gem is perfect for those who are eager to engross themselves in the area’s rich and vibrant culture, while still enjoying beautiful natural sights like Lake Charles or Henderson Bayou.

2. Clarksville, TN

clarksville tn best single family rental market

This growing Tennessee city perfectly balances Southern charm with some big-city magic. For only $1,213 per month, it proves that it is a great destination for renters looking for a peaceful metro for their family to settle in. What’s more, the “Queen of the Cumberland” is the perfect spot for hikers and bikers who will be able to discover numerous trails while keeping fit — or even experience exploring one of the largest caves in the country, Dunbar Cave.

3. Milwaukee, WI

milwaukee single family rental market

As the largest metropolitan area in the state of Wisconsin, located just an hour and a half away from Chicago, Milwaukee ranks third when it comes to best spots for single-family rentals. Renters in the unofficial capital of baseball and breweries have to spend just $1,317 per month for a home rental. In return, they’ll also be able to enjoy the beautiful outdoor areas that the metro has to offer, including its scenic lakefront access.

4. Northwest Arkansas, AR

northwest arkansas best single family rental market

Spanning four of the largest cities in the state (Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers and Bentonville), Northwest Arkansas is home to three Fortune 500 companies: Walmart, Tyson Foods, and J. B. Hunt Transport Services, making it appealing for renters looking to settle in a metro with numerous job opportunities. Renters here can find single-family homes for rent for an average of $1,325, making it the fourth most affordable metro on our list and a perfect spot for nature lovers who still want the advantages of living in a big city.

5. South Dakota

south dakota single family rental market

In fifth place, we have the Mount Rushmore state, where $1,360 per month is enough to rent a single-family home. South Dakota has plenty of beautiful areas for renters looking for that laidback vibe such as Sioux Falls, Rapid City and Pierre, which offer a great compromise between an affordable lifestyle and stunning nature all around.

6. Wichita, KS

wichita

Renters in the Wichita metro who are looking for a single-family home need to spend only $1,377 per month in rent. This metropolitan area is made up of four counties and is filled with parks, outdoor areas, and museums that give it a unique, historic charm. Plus, the Wichita metro provides big-city amenities and a small-town feel — perfect for those who are looking to pair a busy Saturday out with a cozy Sunday in.

7. Lexington, KY

lexington

Passionate about college basketball, open green spaces and music festivals? Then you might want to consider renting in the “Horse Capital of the World”. This charmingly whimsical spot is a great fit for renters looking to stay active or even pick up a new hobby or two, as the city has more than earned its nickname due to its love for equestrianism. For $1,401 per month you can enjoy life in one of the country’s most renter-friendly cities.

8. North Dakota

north dakota

Next up on our list is South Dakota’s sister state, North Dakota. Although, this state might not be the first choice to move to that comes to mind, its nickname of “Peace Garden State” is nothing to scoff at. With stunning national parks, numerous open spaces and fresh air, the area might catch the eye of renters looking to raise their family in an idyllic spot. The upside is that it only costs $1,451 to rent a single-family home and make those small-city life dreams come true.

9. Montana

montana

Montana combines the best of vibrant, economically thriving cities and towns with gorgeous scenery and an active lifestyle. The “Treasure State” is one of the best spots to raise a family, and not only because it is the ideal place to go on those classic family fishing or hiking trips, but also because of its affordability. Renting a single-family home here costs only $1,475 per month, giving you the choice to live in a variety of cities such as Billings, Great Falls or Bozeman — all perfect for outdoors lovers.

10. Kansas City, KS

kansas city

Rounding out our list is another Midwest gem, Kansas City. As the third-most populous city in the state, “KCK” offers renters a dense suburban feel that combines the advantages and excitement of living in a big city with the charm and comfort of a Midwestern lifestyle. Thanks to its affordability, renters here can enjoy living in a single-family home for $1,546 per month, until they decide it’s time to take a plunge and become homeowners.

Other markets that made it on our list of the most affordable areas to rent a single-family home are: Pittsburgh, PA; Oklahoma City, OK; Eugene, OR; Little Rock, AR; Indianapolis, IN; Fort Wayne, IN; Las Vegas, NV; Augusta, GA; Columbus, OH; and Des Moines, IA.

Methodology

RentCafe.com is a nationwide apartment search website that enables renters to easily find apartments and houses for rent throughout the U.S.

This ranking was compiled by RentCafe using data provided by our sister company, Yardi Matrix. The data includes only properties defined as single-family homes for rent that are located in professionally managed communities in the markets covered by Yardi Matrix research. Data for some markets may not be available and data for the locations included in the analysis may be subject to change. The rent data was calculated at the market level. The terms “market” and “metro” were sometimes used interchangeably, for convenience. 

The average single-family home rental rates used for the ranking were valid as of June 2023. This study was based on rent data from communities with at least 50 single-family rental units. 

Single-family rental communities are defined by Yardi Matrix as communities where at least 50% of the units fit one of the following criteria: (1) do not share any walls with other units, or (2) have shared walls, but do not have neighbors above/below or have a direct-access garage.

Fair use and redistribution

We encourage you and freely grant you permission to reuse, host, or repost the research, graphics, and images presented in this article. When doing so, we ask that you credit our research by linking to RentCafe.com or this page, so that your readers can learn more about this project, the research behind it and its methodology. For more in-depth, customized data, please contact us at media@rentcafe.com.

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Adina Dragos is a creative writer at RentCafe, with a passion for reading, research and cats. As a fellow renter, Adina's articles cover various topics such as the state of the real estate market or how creative interior design choices improve the experience of living in a rental. She also enjoys exploring subjects like urbanization, green living and historical buildings. Adina has a BA in English and Norwegian Language and Literature.

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