Revealed: The Most and Least Affordable US States for Renters

By: Lily Valles Last Updated: Jan 01, 2024

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Discover the most & least affordable states for renters in the US. Our study reveals stark disparities in rent price increases.

Revealed: The Most and Least Affordable US States for Renters

The rising inflation and cost of living price rises has seen many basic goods get more expensive for ordinary Americans. As a result, lots of families will have to consider how to cut their monthly expenses.

Rent is one of the biggest monthly outgoings, with the Enterprise group finding that nearly 11 million households spend more than 50 per cent of their income on rent.

So, we wondered which states were the most and least affordable for renters?

We analyzed data from real estate website to find out which US states have seen the highest average monthly rent prices increase over the past three years. Keep reading to find out the results.

Research finds Colorado is the least affordable state for renters

According to our study, Colorado cities have seen the biggest increase in rent prices over the past three years. Florida’s metropolitan areas have seen the second-highest increase in rents since 2020.

At the other end of the spectrum, our research found that West Virginia’s cities have had the lowest increase in rent prices.

What are the most and least affordable US states for renters?

The results of the study are as follows:

1. Colorado

Colorado is the state where major metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) are the most expensive for renters as of 2023. The state has seen the biggest increase in rent prices over the past three years of 54%.

In the first three months of 2020, the average rent price in MSAs in the state was $2,439.56, compared to an average of $3,757.93 across January, February, and March in 2023.

This is a four-and-a-half times larger increase than the state with the smallest increase, West Virginia.

2. Florida

Coming in second is Florida with a 46.7% increase in rent prices in just three years.

Renters in MSAs were paying on average $1,448.43 between January and March 2020 and are now paying $2,126.06; a $677.63 increase.

In comparison, the state’s average annual salary rise from the previous year is only 7.6%.

3. Montana

Montana ranks as the state whose major MSAs had the third-highest increase in average rent prices. In the first three months of 2020, rent prices were $906.45.

The state has seen a $396.17 increase in price, to an average of $1,302.62 between January and March 2023.

4. Idaho

Coming in fourth position is Idaho where renters have experienced an average 41% price increase.

An increase of $474.46 can be seen in this state over the past three years.

5. Arizona

Arizona finds itself with the fifth-largest increase in rent, going from $1,313.44 in early 2020 to $1,821.46 in 2023; a 38.67% increase over the three-year period.

6. Tennessee

In sixth position is Tennessee where the major MSAs’ average rent price has increased from $1,045.76 to $1,447.32, coming in just below Arizona with a 38.39% increase.

7. Georgia

Coming in seventh is Georgia with a 38.35% increase in rent prices over the past three years. Renters are now paying $1,460.07, compared to $1,055.30 in 2020.

8. New Hampshire

New Hampshire is the state with the eighth-highest increase in rent prices of 36.76%.

9. New Mexico

In ninth position is New Mexico, where renters are paying on average $1610.50; a $428.16 increase compared to 2020.

10. West Virginia

MSAs in West Virginia have seen the smallest increase in prices for renters in 2023, with just a 12% increase in rent prices since 2020.

How was the study conducted?

Each US state’s average rental price was compared using data from January to March 2020 to January to March 2023 to reveal which states have had the highest and lowest increases over the past three years.

Thoughts on the study

Rent demand is strong in the US with rising homeownership costs. It is estimated that there is a shortage of 7.3 million affordable rental homes for those with low incomes, putting an extra squeeze on renters. This, paired with rising inflation, means that rent prices have continued to soar.

This data reveals huge disparities in pricing across the US with cities in Colorado and Florida seeing rent increase by around 50%, compared to states like West Virginia and Iowa, which have seen average increases below 15% over the past three years.