If you’ve searched for a rental lately, or read the news, you probably know that home rents are rising in every state, reaching a average of $1,326 this year – and an average asking price of $1,900 for renters looking to move to a new location. This can be worrying news if you’re an entrepreneur trying to cut living expenses while you start your business, or you’re concerned about affordable housing for your company’s employees.
To make things a little easier, apartment rental site RentCafe has compiled a list of cities where apartment renters can get over 1,100 square feet of space for $1,500 a month or less. The site combined these with its list of the best cities for renters (based on everything from available jobs to air quality to affordability) to rank the top 20 options.
If you or your employees are tenants (or you’re deciding where to locate your startup), it’s worth it check the whole list. Here are the top five, where $1,500 will get you 1,300 square feet or more. It’s about 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, TX
Average rent: $879
Average space for $1,500: 1,411 square feet
Amarillo (“yellow” in Spanish) is the largest 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 country’s beef processed there, as well as the oil extraction. Walmart, Bell Helicopter Textron and Owens-Corning are major employers. The same goes for Pantex, the only nuclear weapons assembly and disassembly plant in the United States – Amarillo is sometimes referred to as “Bomb City” accordingly. This is number 23 on RentCafe ranking of the 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 largest city, with a population of approximately 203,000. The department stores Dillard 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’Oréal and Timex are the main 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.
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: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – but many locals just call it “OKC”. It is the state’s capital and largest city, and with a population of approximately 688,000, it is also the 20th most populous city in the country.
Chesapeake Energy and Devon Energy are headquartered there, as are Paycom and Hobby Lobby. Oklahoma City ranked 44th in RentCafe’s list of best cities for renters.
Average rent: $1,042
Average space for $1500:
Named after the ancient Mobile Tribe, Mobile is Alabama’s only coastal port, with significant local shipping, shipbuilding, and steel industries. Airbus also has a factory there. The city’s population is approximately 187,000 and Mobile ranks as the 45th best city for RentCafe tenants.
5. Memphis, TN
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 Graceland mansion. It is 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 hub. FedEx is headquartered in Memphis and has its primary hub there, making Memphis International the busiest cargo airport in the world. A surprising number of films have been filmed in Memphis, including The Firm, Hustle and Flow and Great Balls of Fire! And Memphis took seventh place on RentCafe’s list of best cities for renters. That might be a good reason to check it out.