15 Cities With the Highest Rent-to-Price Ratio
In these cities, buying a home may be more practical than renting.

In recent years, home prices have been increasing faster than rents in the U.S., making homeownership less attractive. After dropping significantly during the housing crisis, home prices not only recovered but rose by nearly 70% from the lowest levels. However, despite rising home values, in some parts of the country, renting is still more expensive than owning when comparing monthly rents to monthly mortgage payments.

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the median monthly rent in the U.S. is $1,369, while the monthly mortgage payment on a median-price home at current interest rates is less than $900.

Housing and rental prices vary considerably on a geographic basis. When considering whether to buy or rent, the rent-to-price ratio can be a useful metric—calculated as median annual rent as a percentage of median home price in a given area. In locations with high rent-to-price ratios, it can be better to buy; whereas, in those with low rent-to-price ratios, it can be more cost effective to rent.

While the overall rent-to-price ratio in the U.S. is 6.26%, these ratios vary considerably across states and metropolitan areas. The West Coast tends to have lower rent-to-price ratios due to sky-high home values and relatively more affordable rents. Rent-to-price ratios are higher in Southern states, which generally have below-average home values. At 9.96%, West Virginia has the highest rent-to-price ratio, meaning it is the most favorable state on average for home buyers and investors looking to acquire rental properties. Median monthly rents in West Virginia are about 2.5-times higher than the mortgage payment on a median-price home. Renters, on the other hand, are better off in Idaho which boasts a rent-to-price ratio of 3.84%.


RELATED

Learn about turnkey properties, calculating property cash flow, and more with Roofstock’s detailed real estate guides.


To find the metros with the highest rent-to-price ratio, our researchers analyzed the latest data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Census Bureau, and Zillow. The researchers ranked metro areas according to the ratio of annual median rent to median home prices. Researchers also calculated the median monthly rent, median home price, and the monthly mortgage payment for a median-price home.

To improve relevance, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 people were included in the analysis. Additionally, metro areas were grouped into the following cohorts based on population size: 

  • Small metros: 100,000–349,999
  • Midsize metros: 350,000–999,999
  • Large metros: 1,000,000 or more

Here are the metros with the highest rent to home price ratios.

Large Metros With the Highest Rent-to-Price ratios

Invest in Atlanta real estate_2-1

15. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA

  • Rent-to-price ratio: 6.51%
  • Median monthly rent: $1,384
  • Median home price: $255,109
  • Monthly mortgage payment for a median-price home: $830

virginia-beach-3501704_1920

14. Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC

  • Rent-to-price ratio: 6.55%
  • Median monthly rent: $1,417
  • Median home price: $259,731
  • Monthly mortgage payment for a median-price home: $845

Orlando

13. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL

  • Rent-to-price ratio: 6.57%
  • Median monthly rent: $1,472
  • Median home price: $268,806
  • Monthly mortgage payment for a median-price home: $874

TRENDING

Curious whether you can sell your rental property with your tenant in place? Read our guide on selling a rental property with tenants and know your options.


chicago-skyscrapers-skyline-view-from-lincoln-park-picture-id1198726201

12. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI

  • Rent-to-price ratio: 6.59%
  • Median monthly rent: $1,402
  • Median home price: $255,532
  • Monthly mortgage payment for a median-price home: $831

dallas-texas-cityscape-picture-id923519778

11. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX

  • Rent-to-price ratio: 6.64%
  • Median monthly rent: $1,505
  • Median home price: $271,831
  • Monthly mortgage payment for a median-price home: $884

new orleans

10. New Orleans-Metairie, LA

  • Rent-to-price ratio: 6.65%
  • Median monthly rent: $1,203
  • Median home price: $217,016
  • Monthly mortgage payment for a median-price home: $706

Cleveland

9. Cleveland-Elyria, OH

  • Rent-to-price ratio: 6.67%
  • Median monthly rent: $939
  • Median home price: $168,994
  • Monthly mortgage payment for a median-price home: $550

Pittsburgh

8. Pittsburgh, PA

  • Rent-to-price ratio: 6.69%
  • Median monthly rent: $974
  • Median home price: $174,771
  • Monthly mortgage payment for a median-price home: $569


Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

7. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL

  • Rent-to-price ratio: 6.69%
  • Median monthly rent: $1,742
  • Median home price: $312,574
  • Monthly mortgage payment for a median-price home: $1,017

Detroit

6. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI

  • Rent-to-price ratio: 6.72%
  • Median monthly rent: $1,093
  • Median home price: $195,270
  • Monthly mortgage payment for a median-price home: $635

tampa

5. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL

  • Rent-to-price ratio: 6.76%
  • Median monthly rent: $1,354
  • Median home price: $240,308
  • Monthly mortgage payment for a median-price home: $782

rochester

4. Rochester, NY

  • Rent-to-price ratio: 7.20%
  • Median monthly rent: $1,017
  • Median home price: $169,546
  • Monthly mortgage payment for a median-price home: $552

oklahoma city

3. Oklahoma City, OK

  • Rent-to-price ratio: 7.48%
  • Median monthly rent: $1,067
  • Median home price: $171,213
  • Monthly mortgage payment for a median-price home: $557

Birmingham

2. Birmingham-Hoover, AL

  • Rent-to-price ratio: 7.61%
  • Median monthly rent: $1,166
  • Median home price: $184,012
  • Monthly mortgage payment for a median-price home: $599

RELATED

Many cities with high rent-to-price ratios offer attractive real estate investment opportunities. Learn everything you need to know about how to start investing in real estate.


Memphis-1

1. Memphis, TN-MS-AR

  • Rent-to-price ratio: 7.69%
  • Median monthly rent: $1,076
  • Median home price: $167,904
  • Monthly mortgage payment for a median-price home: $546

Detailed Findings & Methodology

To find the metros with the highest rent to home price ratios, Roofstock crunched numbers from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey (ACS), and Zillow. The rent-to-price ratio was calculated as the ratio of annualized median rent to Zillow’s Home Value Index. Median rent was calculated as the weighted average of rent for a studio, 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom, 3-bedroom, and 4-bedroom, and 5-bedroom apartment. The number of renter households by bedroom from the ACS were used as weights. Median home price comes from Zillow’s most recent home value index. 

The monthly mortgage payment for a median-price home assumed a 30-year fixed mortgage, 20% down payment, and a 2.72% interest rate. Additionally, metros were grouped into the following cohorts based on population size: 

  • Small metros: 100,000–349,999
  • Midsize metros: 350,000–999,999
  • Large metros: 1,000,000 or more

Source: learn.roofstock.com