The COVID-19 pandemic turned nearly every aspect of our lives upside down. And naturally, it had a tremendous effect on the rental market, sparking a lot of interesting trends. Renters are seeking bigger apartments. Millions are moving to new cities and towns across the country. And, of course, in many cities, the rent has been increasing.
But even amid all this upheaval, some things never change. Primarily, that living in a major city on either the West or East Coast remains as expensive as ever. States like California and New York still have a very high cost of living.
Over the past year, the rental rates have spiked, driving average apartment costs up. So if you're looking for affordable housing, these states and cities are not the best choices for the budget-conscious as they are the most expensive places to live in America.
Living in sunny California or in a bustling East Coast metropolis may sound great. But it will cost you a pretty penny. Once again, California and highly-populated East Coast states like New York rank as the most expensive places to live for renters. Check out our interactive map to see how different cities and states stack up.
Out of the top 50 most expensive places to live in the United States, California cities occupied 29 of those spots.
It's easy to see why everyone wants to live in California. The weather is lovely throughout the year. It boasts of a diverse cultural landscape. The food is next level. You can live lives of adventure and relaxation along the coast or up in the mountains. But all that comes at a price.
Everyone wants a piece, so rental rates are astronomical in many California cities. And in the majority of the California cities on the list, those rates increased over the past year. In Culver City, rent increased more than 50 percent, and the average rent is over $5,000. In Ventura, rates skyrocketed a whopping 126 percent.
While California takes the cake for the most expensive state, these long-time East Coast rent heavyweights are still up there.
New York is up there with the second most expensive place to live in the U.S.: the one and only New York City. The average rent there in July 2021 is $4,510, with a 7.77 percent increase from last year.
Apart from New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey also pop up frequently in the top 50 most expensive places to live and rent an apartment. The most expensive New Jersey city is Weehawken at $3,855. The most expensive Massachusetts city is Boston at $3,731. But surprisingly, that number is down 2.14 percent from last year. Boston is the only city in the top 10 to see its average rent decrease from last year.
In fact, the only state in the top 50 most expensive places to live that isn't California, New York, Massachusetts or New Jersey is Florida. In Florida, Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale are the most expensive places to live at $3,227 and $3,019.
Overall, the price of rent in the top 50 most expensive cities for renters has increased. But there is another interesting trend to note. In some major cities, there was a slight decrease in rental rates over the past year. This trend is primarily in cities that have long been regarded as highly expensive.
In San Francisco, rental rates decreased 12.30 percent. But rates in neighboring Oakland and Alameda increased 24 and 41 percent respectively. Rent in Boston decreased 2.14 percent but the nearby city of Sudbury saw nearly a 9 percent increase.
This shift of renters leaving overly expensive city centers first began in 2020 during the pandemic. Millions of renters left cities seeking less expensive places to live. Many ended up in surrounding suburbs and towns. Spurred by health concerns, unemployment and high cost, the ability to work from home was also a factor. This data shows that the trend is continuing, especially as the pandemic continues.
The above trends, data and takeaways can help you make informed decisions about the best places for you to rent. But they only show the big picture. This complete list breaks down the top 50 most expensive places to live and rent in the US by city.
|Rank||City||Average 1BR Rent||YoY % Change|
|1||Culver City, CA||$5,207||50.27%|
|2||New York, NY||$4,510||7.77%|
|5||Playa Vista, CA||$4,060||3.83%|
|11||West Hollywood, CA||$3,663||-2.34%|
|12||Newport Beach, CA||$3,635||27.98%|
|14||Mountain View, CA||$3,499||18.15%|
|15||Great Neck, NY||$3,469||2.69%|
|19||San Francisco, CA||$3,445||-12.30%|
|21||New Brunswick, NJ||$3,430||63.16%|
|22||Glen Cove, NY||$3,386||25.86%|
|25||Santa Clara, CA||$3,342||-10.33%|
|27||Huntington Station, NY||$3,272||8.80%|
|28||Rockville Centre, NY||$3,244||8.52%|
|29||Miami Beach, FL||$3,227||53.45%|
|30||Garden City, NY||$3,220||-1.25%|
|31||Menlo Park, CA||$3,216||-16.93%|
|33||West New York, NJ||$3,190||32.98%|
|35||Los Angeles, CA||$3,155||0.40%|
|38||Santa Monica, CA||$3,116||-25.91%|
|39||San Bruno, CA||$3,092||-1.64%|
|41||Aliso Viejo, CA||$3,060||29.08%|
|43||South San Francisco, CA||$3,041||22.66%|
|45||Marina Del Rey, CA||$3,024||-14.61%|
|46||Fair Oaks, CA||$3,022||-17.90%|
|47||Fort Lauderdale, FL||$3,019||46.47%|
|48||San Diego, CA||$3,005||19.00%|
|49||Redwood City, CA||$2,982||-5.97%|
|50||Jersey City, NJ||$2,981||3.33%|
Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com's multifamily rental property inventory as of August 2021. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
We eliminated markets with insufficient inventory.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.