If you’ve looked for a rental lately, or if you read the news, you likely know that home rents are rising in every state, reaching an average of $1,326 this year–and an average asking price of $1,900 for renters looking to move to a new place. That might be worrisome news if you’re an entrepreneur trying to keep your living costs down while you start your business–or if you’re concerned about affordable housing for your company’s employees.
To make things a bit easier, the apartment rental site RentCafe has compiled a list of cities where apartment renters can get more than 1,100 square feet of space for $1,500 a month or less. The site combined those with its list of best cities for renters (based on everything from available jobs to air quality, as well as affordability) to rank the 20 best options.
If you or your employees are renters (or if you’re deciding where to locate your startup) it’s worth checking out the whole list. Here are the top five, where $1,500 will get you 1,300 square feet or more. That’s roughly the size of a small house. Compare that to an expensive California city like San Diego, where $1,500 will get you less than 500 square feet.
1. Amarillo, Texas
Average rent: $879
Average space for $1,500: 1,411 square feet
Amarillo (“yellow” in Spanish) is the biggest city in the Texas Panhandle, with a population of just over 200,000. Once considered the helium capital of the world, Amarillo’s economy is now driven by the meat-packing industry, with about a quarter of the nation’s beef processed there, as well as oil extraction. Walmart, Bell Helicopter Textron, and Owens-Corning are major employers. So is Pantex, the only nuclear weapon assembly and disassembly plant in the U.S.–Amarillo is sometimes called “Bomb City” as a result. It’s number 23 on RentCafe’s ranking of best cities for renters.
2. Little Rock, Arkansas
Average rent: $946
Average space for $1,500: 1,395 square feet
Little Rock is the capital of Arkansas and the state’s biggest city, with a population of about 203,000. Dillard’s Department Stores and Windstream Communications are headquartered there, and the city also has a branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Dassault Falcon Jet, Siemens, Kroger, L’Oreal, and Timex are major employers. And, of course, it’s the headquarters of the Clinton Foundation. Little Rock is number 37 on RentCafe’s ranking of best cities for renters.
3. Oklahoma City
Average rent: $917
Average space for $1,500: 1,390 square feet
If you wanted to be redundant, you could call it by its official name: City of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma–but many residents just call it “OKC.” It’s the state’s capital and largest city, and with a population of about 688,000, it’s also the 20th most populous city in the nation.
Chesapeake Energy and Devon Energy have headquarters there, as do Paycom and Hobby Lobby. Oklahoma City ranked 44th in RentCafe’s list of top cities for renters.
4. Mobile, Alabama
Average rent: $1,042
Average space for $1500:
Named for the former Mobile tribe, Mobile is Alabama’s only coastal port, with shipping, ship building, and steel important local industries. Airbus also has a plant there. The city’s population is about 187,000, and Mobile ranked number 45 on RentCafe’s best cities for renters.
5. Memphis, Tennessee
Average rent: $1,032
Average space for $1,500: 1,323
Memphis is the largest city on the Mississippi River and of course, it’s the home of Elvis Presley’s mansion Graceland. It’s also the home of the National Civil Rights Museum, and Memphis has the largest Black population in the state. Overall, the population of Memphis is 633,000.
The city’s location makes it a transportation center. FedEx is headquartered in Memphis and has its primary hub there, making Memphis International the world’s busiest cargo airport. A surprising number of movies were shot in Memphis, including The Firm, Hustle and Flow, and Great Balls of Fire! And Memphis won seventh place on RentCafe’s list of best cities for renters. That might be a good reason to check it out.
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