One-bedroom apartments are often thought of as a person’s first truly “adult” apartment. With their own designated bedroom, residents have more privacy and space, and as such, one-bedroom apartments generally cost more than studios. After a slight switcheroo in 2019, one-bedrooms are once again the second least-expensive housing option. However, it’s not by a lot. While studios cost an average of $1,605 in 2020, one-bedrooms averaged $1,617. With a $12 difference, why not upgrade?
As more renters left major cities for up-and-coming towns last year, one-bedroom prices varied by region. While the South saw increases, the Northeast decreased and the Midwest stayed mainly constant. However, it was the West that saw the biggest change in one-bedroom rents going down from 2019. If you’re looking for a change, these are the cities to watch for the most affordable one-bedroom apartments.
Top 10 cities with the most affordable one-bedroom apartments
If you’re looking for the most affordable apartments of the single-bedroom variety, go west. As jobs moved online last year, renters headed out west for cheaper rents and access to wilderness and major metropolitan areas. These growing communities are called “Zoom towns.” However, there are a few notable exceptions in the South and Midwest.
To determine which cities have the most affordable apartments, Apartment Guide reviewed data from cities with populations of more than 100,000. We then ranked the cities by which ones had the highest percentage of units cheaper than the citywide average. Through this method, we determined the top 10 cities with the most affordable one-bedroom apartments.
10. Lexington, KY
- Average one-bedroom rent price: $906
- Percentage of one-bedroom apartments below the average price: 65.28%
Situated close to the capital city of Frankfort, Lexington is legendary in the equine world. Horse-lovers flock to the “Horse Capital of the World” for its racetracks and thoroughbred farms. Surrounded by the pastoral beauty of the bluegrass region, that old country charm quickly grabs the heart here. But urbanites will also enjoy Lexington’s rich history and robust distilling scene.
As Kentucky’s second-biggest city after Louisville, with a population of 323,152, Lexington is highly regarded for its quality of life. And the fact that 65 percent of its one-bedrooms are lower than the citywide average doesn’t hurt either.
9. Aurora, CO
- Average one-bedroom rent price: $1,491
- Percentage of one-bedroom apartments below the average price: 65.71%
If you want to live in Colorado, having access to the Rocky Mountains is a must. But if Denver is out of your price range, this rapidly-growing city on its eastern flank is the next best thing. Ranked as Colorado’s third-largest city, Aurora has everything from outdoorsy fun at parks and reservoirs to arts and culture like the famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
But from a renter’s standpoint, it’s also a great deal. Out of 70 available units, nearly 66 percent of them are cheaper than the citywide average. And with the Mile High City and the mountains right next door, what’s not to love?
- Average one-bedroom rent price: $899
- Percentage of one-bedroom apartments below the average price: 66.88%
Coastal living isn’t out of reach, as the city of Corpus Christi on the Gulf of Mexico shows. An attractively-priced one-bedroom can easily be found here, as 66.88 percent of available units are lower than the citywide average.
Popular for its water sports and fun-loving vibes, here you’ll live a life of sun, surf and entertainment. And it’s not only humans that think Corpus Christi is prime real estate. Hundreds of native and migratory birds are found along the Padre Island National Seashore, as well as Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles.
- Average one-bedroom rent price: $869
- Percentage of one-bedroom apartments below the average price: 67.39%
Melt-in-your-mouth barbecue. Breathtaking landscapes. Comfort food that fills up your belly and your soul. Friendly folks and that unparalleled Southern hospitality. Yep, North Carolina is hard to beat. But while the Triangle Area and Asheville have gotten most of the love in the past, now it’s Greensboro’s turn.
Steeped in history, the city is rife with museums and educational institutions. There’s also family-oriented fun like the Wet’n Wild Emerald Pointe Water Park. And nature lovers will adore the lush city parks and abundant nature just outside of town. And below-citywide-average units make up 67.39 percent of all available one-bedrooms, for another big plus.
6. Glendale, AZ
- Average one-bedroom rent price: $1,115
- Percentage of one-bedroom apartments below the average price: 67.50%
Glendale is on the rise. This sun-baked city is drawing em’ in with competitive rents, shopping, dining and a thriving sports scene. And boy, does Glendale loves its sports. Home to the University of Phoenix Stadium, Camelback Ranch and Gila River Arena, football, hockey and baseball fans all have something to enjoy.
And you can’t beat the heat here, but you sure can beat the rental rates, with 67.50 percent of its available one-bedrooms are under the citywide average. Compared to nearby Phoenix and Scottsdale, this makes Glendale a much more affordable choice.
5. Lubbock, TX
- Average one-bedroom rent price: $710
- Percentage of one-bedroom apartments below the average price: 68.85%
The birthplace of Buddy Holly, Lubbock is one of Texas’ best cities for music. Throughout downtown, especially in the Depot District, you’ll find tons of large and small venues full of all kinds of music. But it’s also the home of Texas Tech University, so the arts and sciences live hand-in-hand here.
On top of all that, nearly 69 percent of Lubbock’s one-bedrooms are below the citywide average.
4. Miami, FL
- Average one-bedroom rent price: $2,525
- Percentage of one-bedroom apartments below the average price: 71.78%
We know what you’re thinking. Reasonably-priced one-bedrooms? In Miami? Yes, indeed. Out of 404 units, 71 percent are under the average price for rent in this southeastern Florida metropolis. Dreams do come true!
And Miami’s many amenities and attractions need hardly any introduction. From endless beaches to trendy shopping and dining areas, Miami has it made in the actually-quite-sunny shade.
- Average one-bedroom rent price: $1,019
- Percentage of one-bedroom apartments below the average price: 72.48%
Arlington sure knows how to play. From thrills at amusement parks to taking in a game at AT&T Stadium, this city is all about good times. And it doesn’t always have to be high-energy. You can choose your own brand of fun, liking shopping downtown or strolling through city parks.
And you’ll have even more time and money for activities thanks to its affordable housing. Of its 149 one-bedrooms, 72 percent come in under the average, making this popular Texan city quite a bargain for renters.
2. Boise, ID
- Average one-bedroom rent price: $1,293
- Percentage of one-bedroom apartments below the average price: 73.53%
From outdoor recreation areas to a bustling downtown area, Boise is the perfect blend of city-and-nature living. Idaho’s capital city has seen major growth in recent years, drawing young people with its affordable housing, outdoorsy scene and tech industry. It’s even been called the best place for millennials to live in the US.
It’s easy to see why affordability plays a big role once you look at how many affordable one-bedrooms are available. Of the available apartments, 73 percent clock in below the citywide average, so don’t settle for a studio when extra square footage is so abundant.
- Average one-bedroom rent price: $1,927
- Percentage of one-bedroom apartments below the average price: 86.33%
At a whopping 86 percent, Long Beach takes the cake for having the most one-bedrooms under the citywide rent average. Who knew Southern California could be so affordable? So, whether you want beach or city living, you’ll find something to fit your personality and budget.
Obviously, access to the ocean is a big reason to choose Long Beach. But there’s much more to do besides that. You can peruse its many museums, dine on the multicultural fare or explore the canals of the Naples neighborhood.
Top 25 cities with the most affordable one-bedroom apartments
None of the cities on the Top 10 list caught your fancy? There are plenty more options for happening communities with affordable units.