Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura is the #7 most expensive small city for renters in the U.S. 
 -  Photo:  Wikimedia.org / Sergei Gussev

Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura is the #7 most expensive small city for renters in the U.S.

Photo: Wikimedia.org / Sergei Gussev

Which U.S. city do you think is most expensive for renters? New York City? San Francisco? Washington, D.C.? All good guesses, but sorry — according to new data from Dwellsy, as of August 2022, that honor goes to Silverthorne, Colorado. It’s located just over an hour west of Denver, and its median asking rent is $3,500.

"Of course, that doesn’t mean renters in big cities are off the hook — New York topped the major rental markets with a median asking rent of $3,021 in August. Other major cities are not far behind.”

— Jonas Bordo, CEO and cofounder of Dwellsy

If those numbers seem surprisingly high, it’s because rent in the U.S. is up 27.9% from last year. Dwellsy’s data shows that the median asking rent in August 2021 was $1,650 per month. In August 2022, it had risen to $2,110 per month — a $460 difference.

Home rental listing platform Dwellsy regularly mines its 13 million residential rental listings for statistics and data. Each month, Dwellsy breaks this data down regionally across the U.S. so that renters and landlords can see up-to-date trends in rental housing and current affordability in their area. Here, Dwellsy shares some of its August data.

Which large cities are most expensive for renters?

“As I mentioned, New York City is currently the most expensive big city for renters, with the median asking rent for August coming in at $3,021,” added Bordo. “Boston and San Jose are tied for second place with median rents at $3,000.

“Within this group, Austin stands out with the highest rent increase, which has risen by a staggering 86.3%,” Bordo said. “Denver and Tampa have also experienced rent increases that exceed the national average.”

Most Expensive Large Cities for Renters

 -  Chart: Dwellsy

Chart: Dwellsy

Silverthorne, Colorado, leads the pack by a fairly large margin. Its median August asking rent was $3,500, compared to second-place Naples-Marco Island, Florida — a $250 difference.

“The top three small cities on this list — Silverthorne, Naples-Marco Island, and Santa Cruz, California — are all more expensive to rent in than famously expensive big cities like New York and San Francisco,” said Bordo.

Most Expensive Small Cities for Renters

 -  Chart: Dwellsy

Chart: Dwellsy

So, if you want to rent in one of these “most expensive” cities, are you and your budget doomed? Not necessarily.

“Single-family home rentals are driving the overall market,” explained Bordo. “Rents for this property type are up more than 36%. Apartment rent, in contrast, has risen only 4.7% in the past year. That’s below overall inflation levels.

“Naturally, the median asking rent for apartments will vary by city and will also depend on fluctuating supply and demand. But if you’re one of the many Americans who’s primarily been hunting for a rental home, switching your focus to apartments might save you some cash.”

Bordo also pointed out that the rate of rent growth is slowing.

“In August, median asking rent grew by just 0.5%, or $10 ($2,100 in July versus $2,110 in August),” he said. “That’s actually below the 1% growth rate we’d typically see this time of year. I expect the slowdown in rent growth to continue, especially given the fact that there’s been a material uptick in the delivery of new rentals — especially apartments.”

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