Many of the cities with the highest rent in the U.S. enjoy warm climates. As some workers took early retirement and others decided to work from home permanently, demand for apartments in regions without winter remained high in 2022. So did the rent prices in these communities.
Several of the 100 most expensive cities for renters are in or near major technology hubs. The industry's high salaries and consistent growth during the pandemic kept rents high and the apartment supply low in these markets.
The 10 most expensive cities for renters
Jersey City, just across the Hudson from Manhattan, logged the highest rent in the U.S for this survey period. The average monthly rent in Jersey City shot up from $3,308 in 2021 to $5,500 in 2022. That's an increase of 66.25 percent — the third highest in this survey.
Only renters in No. 8 Redmond, WA, (where rents increased 86.11 percent) and residents of No. 56 Pflugerville, TX, — the Austin suburb where rents jumped up 126.34 percent last year — saw bigger rent hikes.
Boston logged the second highest rent in the U.S. during this survey period. The average rental rate in the city rose from $4,164 in 2021 to $4,878 in 2022. This 17.14 percent annual rent increase looks modest compared with the other communities in the Top 100.
Two California cities, Palo Alto (No. 3) and Glendale (No. 4) both saw double-digit rent hikes at 31.34 percent and 36.32, respectively. Rent in Santa Monica (No. 5), costs an average of $4,357, an increase of 15.07 percent over last year. That's a substantial jump. But it's also the smallest year-over-year rent increase of any city in the Top 10.
The remaining cities on the Top 10 list are in the West and Northeast, with the exception of Coral Gables, FL, which came in at No. 6. Residents there saw rents increase 43.34 percent year-over-year.
New Jersey makes another appearance at No. 7, Hoboken. Renters there faced an average rent bill that was 21.46 percent higher than last year. But their average monthly rental rate is $4,264 — more than $1,200 cheaper than Jersey City.
The 100 cities with the highest rent in the U.S.
The 100 most expensive places to rent an apartment in the U.S. are split between four regions: the West, the South, the Northeast and the Midwest. But they're not divided evenly.
The majority of the cities with the highest rent in the U.S. (58 percent) are on the west coast. Of these Top 100 most expensive markets, 41 percent are in California.
Four more Washington communities made the list of the 100 cities with the highest rent in the U.S. A 25.82 percent rent increase pushed Tacoma up to No. 55. The state's largest city, Seattle, came in at No. 60, with an average rent of $2,689. A year-over-year rent increase of 57.06 percent propelled one of its suburbs, Everett, up to No. 61. Which means it's only $10 cheaper to rent an apartment in Everett. The final city, Vancouver (No. 90) is in Washington, but it's considered a suburb of Portland, Oregon (No. 73).
Arizona has four entries: Scottsdale (No. 68), Gilbert (No. 80), Glendale (No. 85) and Goodyear, which rounds out the list at No. 100. All four are suburbs of Phoenix, which actually show up on the list of the cheapest places to live in the U.S. during the same survey period.
Colorado has three entries in the Top 100. Denver is the most expensive, holding the No. 64 spot with an average rent monthly rent of $2,574. The other two cities on the list, Lakewood (No. 77) and Aurora (No. 96), are both suburbs of the largest city in the state.
Both of Nevada's most expensive cities are in the Reno metropolitan area. Thanks to a savings of 5.01 percent, Reno just barely made it onto this list at No. 99. It's actually more expensive to live in its suburb, Sparks (No. 87).
Idaho had just one city on the list. Renters in Boise (No. 88) saw rents increase 11.23 percent between 2021 and 2022.
Another 28 percent of the Top 100 most expensive cities for renters are in the South. Just like the West, most of the entries in this region are found in one state. The majority of the southern cities on the list (57 percent) are in Florida.
The three most expensive Florida cities are in the Miami metropolitan area. An average rental cost of $3,104 puts Miami on the list at No. 33. It's joined by two of its suburbs, Coral Gables (No. 6) and Doral (No. 37). Four more cities in the Miami metropolitan area, Palm Beach (No. 58), West Palm Beach (No. 57) Hialeah (No. 63) and Margate (No. 81), also made the list of the 100 cities with the highest rents in the U.S.
Rent went up 6.51 percent year-over-year in Fort Lauderdale, which clocks in at No. 20. Boynton Beach, one of its suburbs, made the list at No. 74. Tampa (No. 97) and Clearwater No. 75 are another urban/suburban pair. Other Florida communities in the Top 100 include Boca Raton (No. 49), Fort Myers (No. 78), Orlando (No. 79), Hollywood (No. 95) and Bradenton (No. 98).
The remaining nine entries are split between seven states and districts. They include North Carolina, South Carolina, Louisiana, Georgia, Maryland, Tennessee and Virginia. No other southern state contains more than two cities on the Top 100 list.
Although the two most expensive rental markets in the country are found in this region, just 13 percent of the 100 cities with the highest rent in the U.S. are in the Northeast. Unlike the other regions, no one state holds an overwhelming majority of entries.
Bayonne, NJ, secures the state's third spot on the list at No. 34. Renters there saw rent prices rise an average of 13.65 percent between 2021 and 2022.
In addition to Boston, two other Massachusetts cities made the Top 100: Cambridge (No. 11) and Quincy (No. 36). Both saw substantial year-over-year rent increases at 27.86 percent in Cambridge and 23.72 percent in Quincy. They're both suburbs of Boston, the city with the second highest rent in the U.S.
New York made it onto the list twice: White Plains (No. 20) and Yonkers (No. 43). So did Pennsylvania (No. 69 Philadelphia and No. 92 Allentown) and Connecticut (No. 25 Stamford and No. 51 New Haven). Washington D.C., clocked in at No. 59.
Only one of the cities with the highest rent in the U.S. is in the Midwest. In Chicago (No. 46), renters paid an average of 19.46 percent more for rent in 2022.
Rent decreases don't equal affordability
Nine cities recorded a drop in year-over-year rents during this survey period. Yet, they still remained among the places with the highest rents in the U.S.
Renters in Hollywood, Florida (No. 95) saw the biggest drop at 19.10 percent. Renters in Reno saved 5.01 percent, while residents with rental homes in New Orleans (No. 89) saved 2.68 percent.
The remaining cities where rent decreased year-over-year are all in California. They include Rancho Cucamonga (No. 53), Chula Vista (No. 86), San Francisco (No. 13), Alameda (No. 14), Oakland (No. 17) and Pleasanton (No. 44). The last four communities are all in the San Francisco Bay Area.
These savings ranged from an average of .23 percent in Rancho Cucamonga to 17.39 percent in Pleasanton. But even with rent savings stretching into double digits in some communities, California remains one of the most expensive places to live in the county.
The tech effect
Many of the most expensive rental markets in California are also major IT hubs. These include the Bay Area communities just discussed, as well as Santa Clara (No. 15), South San Francisco (No. 17), Sunnyvale (No. 18), San Jose (No. 23) and Palo Alto (No. 3).
But this trend isn't limited to California. Tech companies and start-ups are major employers in Redmond, WA, Hillsboro, OR (No. 35) and Pflugerville, TX. The Boston and Miami metropolitan areas are also seeing strong tech growth.
We can't assume that correlation equals causation, but the IT sector thrived during the pandemic. And, it offers the high salaries that renters need to secure housing in some of the most expensive communities in the country. This keeps the supply of available apartments low and the demand high near major tech sectors.
Renters in the South and the West pay the highest rent in the U.S. But the most expensive rental markets have shifted between 2021 and 2022. Rental housing experts will watch to see if these short-term developments become long-term trends.
|Rank||City||Population||Average Rent||YoY % Change|
|1||Jersey City, NJ||262,075||$5,500||66.25%|
|3||Palo Alto, CA||65,364||$4,672||31.34%|
|5||Santa Monica, CA||90,401||$4,357||15.07%|
|6||Coral Gables, FL||49,700||$4,310||43.34%|
|9||San Diego, CA||1,423,851||$4,202||25.85%|
|10||Newport Beach, CA||84,534||$4,178||26.79%|
|12||Los Angeles, CA||3,979,576||$4,018||2.51%|
|13||San Francisco, CA||881,549||$4,004||-2.26%|
|15||Santa Clara, CA||130,365||$3,922||19.83%|
|16||South San Francisco, CA||67,789||$3,901||20.48%|
|19||White Plains, NY||58,109||$3,595||9.83%|
|20||Fort Lauderdale, FL||182,437||$3,506||6.51%|
|21||Mountain View, CA||82,739||$3,486||31.02%|
|22||Laguna Niguel, CA||66,385||$3,470||20.07%|
|23||San Jose, CA||1,021,795||$3,410||19.48%|
|27||Costa Mesa, CA||113,003||$3,250||20.96%|
|32||Lake Forest, CA||85,531||$3,113||16.15%|
|38||Union City, CA||74,107||$2,993||22.48%|
|39||Palm Desert, CA||53,275||$2,988||3.29%|
|40||Santa Ana, CA||332,318||$2,986||6.04%|
|41||Huntington Beach, CA||199,223||$2,983||26.70%|
|47||Simi Valley, CA||125,613||$2,903||15.36%|
|48||Walnut Creek, CA||70,166||$2,888||24.99%|
|49||Boca Raton, FL||99,805||$2,878||13.85%|
|51||New Haven, CT||130,250||$2,840||25.14%|
|52||Chino Hills, CA||83,853||$2,838||14.26%|
|53||Rancho Cucamonga, CA||177,603||$2,825||-0.23%|
|57||West Palm Beach, FL||111,955||$2,763||9.54%|
|58||Palm Beach Gardens, FL||57,704||$2,741||6.78%|
|66||Mount Pleasant, SC||91,684||$2,513||29.00%|
|67||San Leandro, CA||88,815||$2,502||15.75%|
|74||Boynton Beach, FL||78,679||$2,395||8.94%|
|78||Fort Myers, FL||87,103||$2,194||17.87%|
|86||Chula Vista, CA||274,492||$2,066||-6.63%|
|89||New Orleans, LA||390,144||$2,035||-2.68%|
|91||Citrus Heights, CA||87,796||$2,002||1.10%|
Rental data was pulled from Rent.'s multifamily advertiser rental property inventory for one- and two-bedroom units over June 2022 and June 2021. A single measure of price for all unit types per time period was calculated using a weighted average based on the number of available units. All cities with populations under 50,000, price shifts outside a standard deviation or insufficient inventory at either the one- or two-bedroom level were excluded.
The U.S. Census divides the country into four geographic regions: Northeast (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont); Midwest (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin); South (Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, District of Columbia and West Virginia) and West (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Hawaii, Utah, Washington and Wyoming).
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.