GOBankingRates

20 Big Cities Where You Can Find Rent for Under $1,200

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Davel5957 / iStock.com

With inflation continuing to tighten its vice grip on people’s wallets, more and more people are looking for ways to shore up their budgets. And while moving isn’t always easy, spending less on rent can be one of the most effective ways of cutting back. After all, for most, housing is the single biggest monthly expense within our increasingly strained budgets.

See: 15 Worst States To Live on Just a Social Security Check
Check Out: 5 Best Southern Cities To Retire on a Budget of $1,500 a Month

Fortunately, there are still several cities where rent is reasonable. In this study, GOBankingRates gathered data from the BLS, ApartmentList, and BestPlaces to compile a list of 20 major cities where rent is still under $1,200 per month, on average. While most are in the South, there are a few Midwestern gems on the list and even one city in the Northeast.

Take a look at all 20 below, in reverse order of how affordable they are based on monthly income, rent and cost of living in the area.

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20. Houston

  • Avg Monthly Income (State): $5,504
  • Avg 1BR Rent, April 2022: $1,061
  • Cost of Living Index: 96.5

The largest city in Texas, Houston is easily the biggest city on this list, with a population of more than 2.3 million. Despite its size, though, rents remain affordable at $1,061 per month for a one-bedroom.

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19. San Antonio, Texas

  • Avg Monthly Income (State): $5,504
  • Avg 1BR Rent, April 2022: $1,042
  • Cost of Living Index: 89.7

San Antonio is almost among the largest cities in Texas, yet the average rent there is just $1,042 as of April 2022. Its overall cost of living, too, is just 89.7.

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18. Jacksonville, Florida

  • Avg Monthly Income (State): $5,188
  • Avg 1BR Rent, April 2022: $1,179
  • Cost of Living Index: 93.5

The average rent for a one-bedroom in Jacksonville is $1,179 for a one-bedroom, putting it close to the $1,200 mark. Still, its overall cost of living is below the national average at 93.5.

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17. Columbus, Ohio

  • Avg Monthly Income (State): $4,884
  • Avg 1BR Rent, April 2022: $996
  • Cost of Living Index: 85.5

Columbus is the capital city of Ohio, yet the city is affordable given its population of nearly one million. The average rent is just under $1,000, and the cost of living index is rated at just 85.5.

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16. Fort Worth, Texas

  • Avg Monthly Income (State): $5,504
  • Avg 1BR Rent, April 2022: $1,127
  • Cost of Living Index: 99.8

Fort Worth is part of the Dallas metropolitan area, along with Arlington, Texas. The average rent in the city is $1,127 as of April 2022. The cost of living is just below the national average, at 99.8.

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15. Indianapolis

  • Avg Monthly Income (State): $4,612
  • Avg 1BR Rent, April 2022: $892
  • Cost of Living Index: 83.5

Another capital city, Indianapolis has a population of just under 900,000. The average rent is quite affordable at under $900. Plus, the cost of living index is 83.5, making this a very affordable city.

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14. El Paso, Texas

  • Avg Monthly Income (State): $5,504
  • Avg 1BR Rent, April 2022: $914
  • Cost of Living Index: 81.5

A medium-sized city in Texas, El Paso is quite affordable; the average one-bedroom rent is just $914. Plus, the cost of living index is rated at 81.5.

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13. Detroit

  • Avg Monthly Income (State): $5,164
  • Avg 1BR Rent, April 2022: $688
  • Cost of Living Index: 87.6

Detroit has the lowest one-bedroom rent on this list, with an average of $688 in April 2022. The cost of living index is rated 87.6.

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12. Memphis, Tennessee

  • Avg Monthly Income (State): $5,032
  • Avg 1BR Rent, April 2022: $957
  • Cost of Living Index: 76

Memphis is an affordable city that sits along the Mississippi River. The average one-bedroom rent in the city is just $957; plus, its cost of living is the lowest on this list, rated 76.

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11. Oklahoma City

  • Avg Monthly Income (State): $4,320
  • Avg 1BR Rent, April 2022: $860
  • Cost of Living Index: 85.4

The state’s capital lies along the North Canadian River near the center of the state. OKC features rent well below $900 and the cost of living is decent, but average monthly income is the lowest so far on this list.

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10. Louisville, Kentucky

  • Avg Monthly Income (State): $4,440
  • Avg 1BR Rent, April 2022: $822
  • Cost of Living Index: 88.4

Although Louisville’s population is less than 250,000, its metro area has over 600,000 people. Rents in the city are affordable at just $822 for a one-bedroom, and the cost of living index is 88.4.

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9. Baltimore

  • Avg Monthly Income (State): $5,996
  • Avg 1BR Rent, April 2022: $1,077
  • Cost of Living Index: 88.2

The lone Northeastern city on this list, the average one-bedroom rent in Baltimore is $1,077. With a cost of living index of 88.2, the city is quite affordable overall.

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8. Milwaukee

  • Avg Monthly Income (State): $4,388
  • Avg 1BR Rent, April 2022: $813
  • Cost of Living Index: 84.9

Located along Lake Michigan’s western shore, Milwaukee is the most populous city in Wisconsin. The average one-bedroom rent in the city is just $813, and the cost of living index is 84.9.

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7. Albuquerque, New Mexico

  • Avg Monthly Income (State): $4,388
  • Avg 1BR Rent, April 2022: $1,006
  • Cost of Living Index: 91.1

Albuquerque is the largest city in New Mexico, but remains affordable, with an average one-bedroom rent of $1,006. The cost of living index is rated 91.1.

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6. Tucson, Arizona

  • Avg Monthly Income (State): $5,124
  • Avg 1BR Rent, April 2022: $959
  • Cost of Living Index: 91.6

Tucson is the second-largest city in Arizona after Phoenix. However, one-bedroom rent in the city is under $1,000, and it has a cost of living index of just 91.6.

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5. Kansas City, Missouri

  • Avg Monthly Income (State): $4,716
  • Avg 1BR Rent, April 2022: $949
  • Cost of Living Index: 86.2

The largest city in Missouri, Kansas City has a population of just over 500,000. The average one-bedroom rent in the city is $949, and the cost of living index is 86.2.

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4. Omaha, Nebraska

  • Avg Monthly Income (State): $4,576
  • Avg 1BR Rent, April 2022: $890
  • Cost of Living Index: 89.8

Omaha is undoubtedly affordable; the average one-bedroom rent in the city is just $890. Its overall cost of living is rated at 89.8.

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3. Tulsa, Oklahoma

  • Avg Monthly Income (State): $4,320
  • Avg 1BR Rent, April 2022: $873
  • Cost of Living Index: 83.2

Tulsa is the second-largest city in Oklahoma, and it’s a great destination for affordability. The average one-bedroom rent is just $873, and the cost of living index is just 83.2.

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2. New Orleans

  • Avg Monthly Income (State): $4,568
  • Avg 1BR Rent, April 2022: $1,003
  • Cost of Living Index: 96.3

New Orleans is famous for its jazz and seafood, but it also happens to have a reasonable cost of living. It’s slightly cheaper than the national average, with a cost of living index of 96.3. The average rent for a one-bedroom in the city is $1,003.

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1. Wichita, Kansas

  • Avg Monthly Income (State): $4,528
  • Avg 1BR Rent, April 2022: $730
  • Cost of Living Index: 82.1

Wichita is a medium-sized city located in Kansas, and it’s quite affordable. In fact, it has the second-lowest one-bedroom rent on this list, with an average rent of just $730. Its overall cost of living is very favorable too, at 82.1.

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Methodology: For this piece, GOBankingRates first determined (1) top 50 U.S. cities by population, sourced from the U.S. Census; and (2) average monthly wages in Q4 2021 for the states housing each of these cities, as sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) County Employment and Wages news release. GOBankingRates then (3) determined which major cities’ average April 2022 rent for a one-bedroom apartment, sourced from ApartmentList, was no greater than 30% of state resident average monthly income. Cities included in the ranking had (4) an overall cost of living index, sourced from Sperling’s Best Places, no greater than the national average. All data was collected and is up to date as of May 31, 2022.