If you’re looking for an affordable place to rent, the number of bedrooms is only one factor in price. In fact, location is going to have a massive impact on your rent payment. It’s no secret rent is high in some of the country’s largest cities, but prices vary widely: New York City is generally an expensive place to live, but a few blocks can mean a difference of hundreds — even thousands — of dollars.
Using the Census Bureau’s list of urban areas with the highest costs of living, Apartments.com and real estate data company CoStar put together a list of 14 neighborhoods in different areas where renting a one-bedroom apartment is most expensive. Rather than compiling a list of the highest rents overall (which would probably just be a collection of neighborhoods in New York City and San Francisco), this list names one neighborhood — the one with the highest average rent — per urban area. Still, the rankings are dominated by New York and California cities.
You’ll need more than money to live in a trendy shoebox (square footage wasn’t factored into these lists, but given the population densities of these areas it’s likely many of these apartments are, um, compact). Landlords regularly run credit checks on prospective tenants, and if you have a poor or non-existent credit history, you might have trouble getting the apartment.
Landlords want to know you’ll pay rent in full and on time. With poor credit, you might have to pay a high security deposit or get a co-signer on the lease. Before apartment hunting, make sure you know your credit standing so there are no surprises: You’re entitled to your free annual credit reports through AnnualCreditReport.com, and you can get two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com.
On top of average monthly rent, Apartments.com factored in the median monthly household income, cost of living, inflation and percent of household income spent on rent into the rankings. Each category was weighted, with the most weight given to the percent of income people spend on rent. With all that taken into account, here’s how the rankings shake out.
14. Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, Pa.
Includes ZIP codes 19102, 19103 and 19146
Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,860
Called “Philadelphia’s most popular town square” by Visit Philadelphia, this has long been a popular spot in the city. The square was designed in 1913, though some of its mansions are much older, and it serves as a park as well as a home to much of the city’s public art.
13. Southwest Pasadena, Pasadena, Calif.
ZIP code 91105
Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $2,957
The Southwest region of Pasadena is largely residential area along the Arroyo Seco, a seasonal river, canyon and watershed area. The Rose Bowl stadium is along the Arroyo Seco, and Pasadena is home to the annual Rose Bowl game and Tournament of Roses Parade.
12. Foggy Bottom / George Washington University / West End, Washington, D.C.
Includes ZIP codes 20006, 20036, 20037 and 20052
Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $2,662
There’s plenty of historical sites to visit in the nation’s capital, and Foggy Bottom is no different. According to the Washington D.C. Register of Historic places, many of the rowhouses date back to the 1870s, and an older structure may have been a part of the Underground Railroad. As far as more recent history goes, Foggy Bottom is also home to the Watergate Complex, which includes the Watergate Hotel and Office Building of Nixon-era fame.
11. Hunters Point, New York City, N.Y.
ZIP code 11109
Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $2,811
The Census Bureau considers the boroughs of New York City different urban areas, which is why this list includes three neighborhoods in the city. Hunters Point is in Queens, but its proximity to Midtown Manhattan makes it extremely appealing. The waterfront industrial neighborhood is rapidly developing into a high-end residential destination, and apartments are in high demand.
10. Harborview, San Diego, Calif.
ZIP code 92101
Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $2,206
This waterfront district west of downtown San Diego is largely full of hotels and upscale shopping. You’ll also find a collection of museums along the water, but it’s not necessarily just a place to casually stroll to see some history or art — it’s a landing spot for cruise ships, as well.
9. Newport Center, Newport Beach, Calif.
ZIP code 92660
Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $3,133
This area is home to Fashion Island, an upscale, open-air mall. The shopping and business district lies close the water, as well as a country club and art museum.
8. Historic Downtown, Jersey City, N.J.
ZIP code 07302
Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $3,068
Jersey City is just across the Hudson River from Manhattan, and this collection of neighborhoods is just west of the waterfront. The area includes the city hall and a great deal of 19th century architecture, according to DestinationJersey.com.
7. Great Neck Plaza, Great Neck, N.Y.
ZIP code 11021
Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $3,223
Great Neck Plaza is a historical village on the Great Neck Peninsula of Long Island, just outside New York City. It dates back to 17th century settlements and is now a popular shopping and dining area, though members of the community enthusiastically work to preserve the historical qualities of the village.
6. Crescent Park, Palo Alto, Calif.
ZIP code 94301
Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $3,157
This Bay Area neighborhood is popular among the affluent Silicon Valley crowd — Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg lives there. It’s an exclusive place but also close to the freeway, making it relatively easy to get around.
5. Golden Gate, Oakland/Emeryville, Calif.
ZIP code 94608
Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $2,695
This diverse area is known as a hipster hub with lots of specialty shopping, according to a profile in Oakland Magazine. As its name suggests, the northern Oakland neighborhood once provided a nice view of the Golden Gate Bridge, but over time, it became blocked by building development.
4. Government Center, Boston, Mass.
ZIP code 02114
Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $3,782
This neighborhood was built over the historic, bustling (now dismantled) Scollay Square. As anyone might guess, government buildings like city hall are now located here, making it an easy commute for city workers.
3. Yerba Buena, San Francisco, Calif.
ZIP code 94107
Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $3,643
Yerba Buena is a busy section of downtown San Francisco featuring high-end dining, shopping, hotels and living space, as well as a collection of art galleries and gardens, according to the neighborhood association’s website. Now boasting non-stop activity, Yerba Buena used to be pretty sparse and featured a large parking lot.
2. Dumbo, New York City, N.Y.
ZIP code 11201
Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $4,023
The name of this neighborhood in Brooklyn is an acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass and features a collection of famous food stops and art galleries. In recent years, it has been highlighted as a tech hub for New York.
1. Penn Plaza/Garment District, New York City, N.Y.
ZIP code 10001
Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $4,440
This neighborhood is the heart of the fashion scene in New York, dating back to its time as the clothing-production hub of the U.S. in the 1800s. People in this part of Manhattan use an astonishing 70% of their monthly income for rent, according to Apartments.com, leaving them with a fraction of their monthly budget to spend on the high-end merchandise designed and produced there.
More on Credit Reports and Credit Scores:
- How to Get Your Free Annual Credit Report
- What’s a Bad Credit Score?
- How Credit Impacts Your Day-to-Day Life