Steve Harper

Here at Apartment Guide, we wondered what we might learn about the price of a square foot of apartment space across the country, if we took a look at our own data.

We discovered that, for properties which advertise on Apartment Guide, the nationwide median rental price of an entry-level studio or one bedroom apartment is $769. This means that half of these properties rent for more, half for less.


Our next question: so, how many square feet might that $769 rent you around the nation? We then determined the median entry-level apartment price per square foot in CBSAs (metros) with at least 30 properties listed on the site in April 2014.

The winner for most affordable space? Springfield, Missouri.

California's San Jose, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara charge the most per square foot.

Read on (and click the map above) to get the skinny on your favorite metros!

Why look at median and entry-level apartment data?
Rather than taking averages of square footage and price per square foot, Apartment Guide felt, in this case, that the median data would be most insightful for readers. Median values help account for extremes which can skew the data and color the overall findings.

Also, because each apartment property listing includes an entry-level choice, using the entry-level apartment as the baseline allows for a more accurate comparison across the data. Depending on the community, an entry-level apartment likely means a one bedroom or studio apartment unit.

Get a lot
These metros offer the cheapest square footage.

# Metro What $769 Buys in Local Square Footage
1 Springfield, MO 1,059.34
2 Macon, GA 1,054.48
3 Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO 1,041.48
4 Huntsville, AL 1,037.94
5 Evansville, IN-KY 1,017.79
6 Gulfport-Biloxi, MS 997.84
7 Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC 997.39
8 Greensboro-High Point, NC 977.08
9 South Bend-Mishawaka, IN-MI 970.56
10 Columbus, GA-AL 966.45

Renters in Springfield, MO, and Macon, GA, enjoy some of the best rent deals for apartment space in the country.

By the way, Springfield recently appeared on our list of America's most affordable cities. Macon drew national attention when Oprah Winfrey brought her TV show there in 2007 to honor the town's dedicated viewers.

Get a little
A square foot in the following metros is the most expensive in the list.

# Metro What $769 Buys in Local Square Footage
1 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 267.08
2 San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA 284.88
3 Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT 338.13
4 Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH 340.56
5 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 341.78
6 Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA 371.04
7 New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 374.64
8 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA 384.63
9 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 405.97
10 San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA 420.64

According to our data, San Jose, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara, CA, charge the most per square foot on our list, at $2.88 per. The national median rent of $769 would only secure you about 267 square feet there.

Right in the middle
Sitting right in the middle of our search, both Tucson and Phoenix, AZ, occupy the center of the median, alongside Fresno, CA. In these areas, about a dollar per square foot will get you around 770 square feet of space, representing the center value between the highest and lowest rents by square footage, according to our information. (Fresno also appeared in our story about upgrading from a one bedroom apartment to two bedrooms. It's the cheapest metro in the country for this jump!)




About The Author

Steve Harper enjoys seeking out and writing about topics that matter to renters for the Apartment Guide Blog. He hails from Atlanta, Georgia. Find Steve on Google.