The Cities That Renters Are Flocking To Find Affordable Apartments

Individuals are leaving major cities like New York, Baltimore, and Denver and flocking to places like Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Biloxi, Mississippi in search of affordable apartments.

By Kristi Eckert | Published

If you’ve been in the market for a new apartment lately, you’ve likely realized that rental prices have gone haywire. The reasons why are actually far more complex than one might believe, but to put it simply the super high prices can be attributed to a lack of affordable apartment options coupled with an immense increase in demand and soaring inflation. This perfect storm has led those in desperate search of something they can afford to flee their metros and flock to ones with far more digestible prices. 

This begs the question, what cities are people leaving in droves? And an even more pertinent question, where are they flocking to find affordable apartments? Rent.com was curious to find out too and decided to analyze its site’s statistics to narrow down the answer. 

The rental site compiled a list of the cities people were leaving and moving to most based on the number of serious inquiries that were submitted to landlords in sizable metropolitan areas across the nation. It found that folks are high tailing it out of or were avoiding moving to places like New York City, Atlanta, Baltimore, Denver, St. Louis, and Chicago. Traverse City, Michigan, Charlotte, North Carolina, Washington, D.C., and Lexington, Kentucky also made the mass exodus list. 

In contrast, the cities where people are finding affordable apartment options included Biloxi, Mississippi, Huntsville, Alabama, Madison, Wisconsin, and Springfield, Massachusetts. Other top contenders with affordable living options were Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Toledo, Ohio, Waco, Texas, and Augusta Georgia. One quick price comparison between these cities and the ones being left and it becomes immediately clear why individuals are making the choices they are. 

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For instance, according to Area Vibes, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s cost of living is 43% cheaper than the national average and even 13% cheaper than the Pennsylvania average. Those numbers are extremely attractive, especially when you put them side by side with a place like New York City where the cost of living is 134% higher than the national average. 

A nicely appointed 2 bedroom/1 bath apartment in Harrisburg, PA will run you around $1150 per month. That same apartment in New York City would be at least three times as much. There is just no contest in terms of which boasts the more affordable apartments. 

Furthermore, the difference is evident in southern metros, too. For example, Biloxi, Mississippi’s cost of living is 18% cheaper than the national average and 7% less than Mississippi’s mean. Those figures are really attractive in contrast to a place like Atlanta where it will cost one 16% more than the national average and 7% more than Georgia’s average to live. 

The reshuffling of citizens in search of more affordable apartments is something that the nation has been building up to for a while, in retrospect. This is especially true now that so many more people are working from home and not tied to one particular location. It makes sense that these individuals in particular would want to live in places where their dollar stretches farthest.

All in all, it will certainly be interesting to see the effects that this great migration will usher in, especially in terms of the potential industries that emerge in those locations as a result of the influx of new residents.