What Are The 20 Priciest Single-Family Home Rental Cities In America?

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Much to renters’ relief, February asking rent for single-family homes dropped 1.2 percent. But in some areas of the country, a rental home will still cost you a serious chunk of change.

Los Altos, CA (March 2023) – Single-family home renters had a rough start to 2023, as prices unexpectedly surged 7.4 percent in January. Now that the latest data is in, the analysts at Dwellsy say this group is (finally) in luck: Single-family home rentals (SFRs) have experienced a modest price decrease of $23, or 1.2 percent, between January and February.

That amount might not be enough to completely refill your pot of gold as we approach St. Patrick’s Day, but at least you can look forward to a wee bit of rent relief at the end of the rainbow.

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“SFR renters have been on quite a wild ride over the past two years, with median asking rents for that property type rising a total of 20.3 percent,” says Jonas Bordo, CEO and cofounder of Dwellsy. “Any downward movement, no matter how small, is a good thing.”

Bordo cites the shift to remote work—which, not coincidentally, began in earnest two years ago—as the catalyst for rising SFR rents. No longer tied to the office, many workers desired more space at home and took advantage of the opportunity to truly work from anywhere.

“Two thousand dollars a month will get you a one-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles, but for the same amount, you can rent a three-bedroom home in Nashville,” he points out. “As demand for larger properties has grown, prices have risen as well.”

As we’ll soon see, in some markets (looking at you especially, California), SFR rents have really soared into the stratosphere—and a 1.2 percent month-over-month decrease won’t bring them much closer to Earth.

Bordo believes that providing accurate and timely rental data is a crucial service for renters, landlords, cities, and organizations connected to the rental industry. To that end, Dwellsy regularly mines its 13+ million residential rental listings for statistics and data.

Because the rental platform allows landlords to post listings free of charge, it has a pool of data that’s more diverse—and more representative of the true rental landscape—than that of pay-to-play listing services. Each month, Dwellsy breaks down this data regionally across 250 U.S. markets.

“Without current data, it’s difficult for renters to accurately gauge developing trends, determine affordability in their area, and plan for the future,” says Bordo. “In compiling this list of most expensive cities for single-family home rentals, we’ve focused in on three-bedroom homes because they are by far the most common rental home type.”

For a more detailed look at Dwellsy’s rent price analysis methodology, see this article.

Now, let’s take a look at which cities are most expensive for single-family home renters:

Top Ten Most Expensive Big Cities for Three-Bedroom Single-Family Home Rentals

California may be the Golden State, but renting a home there might not leave much, well, gold in your budget. Five of the cities on this list are in California, including the top four. With a median asking rent of $4,000, Los Angeles tops the list and easily beats out second-place contender San Jose, where a three-bedroom SFR will set you back $3,895 each month.

“Seventh-place Boston deserves a shout-out, because it’s the only city on this list where rent has decreased since February 2022,” Bordo says. “But when median asking rent is still almost $3,000, a 2.5 percent decrease may not be all that helpful to renters and their budgets.”

This table shows which large cities had the most expensive February 2023 asking rent for three-bedroom single-family homes.

Rank Metropolitan Statistical Area Median Three-Bedroom Single-Family Home Asking Rent, February 2023 Change Since February 2022
1 Los Angeles, CA $ 4,000 + 2.6%
2 San Jose, CA $ 3,895 + 5.3%
3 San Francisco, CA $ 3,650 + 1.5%
4 San Diego, CA $ 3,585 + 7.0%
5 Miami, FL $ 3,400 + 6.3%
6 Honolulu, HI $ 3,250 + 4.8%
7 Boston, MA $ 2,925 - 2.5%
8 New York, NY $ 2,800 + 5.5%
9 Riverside-San Bernardino, CA $ 2,795 + 3.5%
10 Seattle, WA $ 2,673 + 2.8%

Top Ten Most Expensive Small Cities for Three-Bedroom Single-Family Home Rentals

If you can work from home, why not make that home a sought-after vacation destination? It’s a great plan, if you can afford the rent. As this list reflects, you’ll pay top dollar for a rental home in popular coastal communities—six of which are in California—and a few winter playgrounds, too.

“Naples-Marco Island, Florida, tops this list with an asking rent of $3,725,” says Bordo. “Believe it or not, prices in this market have fallen 16.3 percent since February 2022. Yes, $3,725 may not sound remotely cheap…but renters there will agree it’s better than $5,000 or more.”

Another notable market is Santa-Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, California, where median asking rent has increased 21.8 percent in the past year.

“Given that four cities on this list have seen rent changes of less than 2 percent in the same time period, you may wonder if the Santa Barbara metro area’s decimal is in the right place,” comments Bordo. “It is.”


This table shows which small cities had the most expensive February 2023 asking rent for three-bedroom single-family homes.

Rank Metropolitan Statistical Area Median Three-Bedroom Single- Family Home February 2023 Asking Rent Change Since February 2022
1 Naples-Marco Island, FL $ 3,725 - 16.3%
2 Salinas, CA $ 3,585 + 3.9%
3 Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA $ 3,400 + 0.8%
4 Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, CA $ 3,350 + 21.8%
5 San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, CA $ 3,250 + 1.6%
6 Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA $ 3,200 + 6.7%
7 Boulder, CO $ 2,750 + 8.9%
8 Vallejo-Fairfield, CA $ 2,750 - 1.3%
9 Bozeman, MT $ 2,700 + 1.9%
10 North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota, FL $ 2,603 + 4.1%

“SFR rent in some sought-after markets will always be expensive,” concludes Bordo. “But we can be cautiously optimistic that the steadily rising prices of the past two years might finally become flatter.

This year we’re expecting the delivery of more single-family rental properties, which should nudge the supply/demand balance closer to renters’ favor. And given interest rates, inflation, and the possibility of a recession, prices are less likely to spike.”

About Jonas Bordo:

Jonas Bordo is the coauthor, along with Hannah Hildebolt, of the upcoming book Everything You Need to Know About Renting But Didn’t Know to Ask: All the Insider Dirt to Help You Get the Best Deal and Avoid Disaster. He is the CEO and cofounder of Dwellsy, the free residential rental marketplace that makes it easy to find hard-to-find rentals.

About the Book:

Everything You Need to Know About Renting But Didn’t Know to Ask: All the Insider Dirt to Help You Get the Best Deal and Avoid Disaster (Matt Holt, August 2023, ISBN: 978-1-6377439-2-8, $21.95) is available for pre-order from major online booksellers.

About Dwellsy:

Dwellsy is the renter’s marketplace: a comprehensive residential home rentals marketplace based on the radical concept that true, organic search in a free ecosystem creates more value than the pay-to-play model embraced by all of the current rental listing services.