It is amazing to me how much the price of living can change depending on where you live in the United States. In some cities, you can find awesome apartments for the same price that would get you a closet in other areas. There are several cultural, political, and historical factors that influence the rent rates in a given city.
This article will list 10 cities where 1k a month can afford a backyard and 10 where you'd be lucky to afford a bathtub. Most of the cities featured on this list are in the United States but I did include a couple cities from abroad to give this article an international flair.
As I was compiling this list, several patterns emerged. Homes in the interior part of the United States were generally cheaper than in cities on the coasts. Cities that experience more winters also generally had cheaper rent prices. And finally, cities that are more popular tend to have more competition for apartments, and therefore, higher rates. Read the rest of this article to find out which cities fit into these patterns and which ones deviate from the norm.
20 Afford a Backyard- Perfect For Pets In Pittsburgh
Most of the country would consider Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to be an east coast city. In reality, however, the city of black and gold is close enough to the Appalachian Mountains to give it a different cultural feel. One good thing that has come out of Pittsburgh's distance from the East Coast is that the rent there has stayed relatively cheap.
Even in the heart of the city, you can still find nice houses or apartments for rent for less than $1,000. In certain neighborhoods like Oakland or Shadyside, these rentals will even come with a backyard. Perfect for residents who are looking to buy their first pet.
19 No Bathtub- A Closet Apartment In New York City
This next entry should come as a shock to no one. For decades, the size of apartments in New York City have been the focus of ridicule and things have not gotten better in the last few years.
You would be lucky to find a studio for $1,000 in New York, much less a nice apartment with a big bathtub. Rentals on the outskirts of the city are usually more affordable but you certainly won't be living in luxury. No one in New York spends enough time in their home to actually enjoy a bathtub. If you are lucky enough to find an apartment with a bathtub, think about staying there long term.
18 Afford a Backyard- Your Rent Won't Be Dublin (A taste of Ireland)
It is hard to find a major city in Europe where you can find an apartment for less than $1000 a month that also comes with a backyard. Ireland seems to be the exception to most of the rules that govern Europe and this is no different.
Dublin is by far the biggest city in Ireland and I was able to find multiple apartments for rent that fit this criterion. The price of living in Dublin varies greatly depending on what neighborhood you live in, so if you are selective about where you stay, you should be able to get yourself a nice backyard.
17 No Bathtub- Awesome Austin (With less awesome prices)
Sadly, the city of Austin, Texas is becoming less and less affordable. The home of the Texas Longhorns has become hugely popular and a large number of people have moved into the city in recent years. There is not enough space or apartments to accommodate all these people, which jacks up the rent prices.
This means that you would be lucky to find any apartment for less than $1,000 a month, much less one with a bathtub. People looking to move into Austin have to decide whether this rising city is worth spending a lot extra on rent every month.
16 Afford a Backyard- Gotta Love Those Retirees (Tampa Bay)
I didn't want to give the impression that rent prices are high in every part of the southern United States.
Tampa Bay, Florida is actually very affordable to live in. A lot of retirees move to the Tampa Bay Area but sadly, many of them don't live long enough to enjoy their new homes. This means that there is always a steady stream of nicer apartments, which keeps rent prices low. You should be able to find a home with a backyard for less than $1,000 per month. If not, just wait a couple of months to see what comes your way.
15 No Bathtub- Renting Like a Gladiator (Rome, Italy)
Rome is a heck of a city but not one where you can live comfortably without a high income. The price of living is very high in Italy's capital city and the exorbitant rent prices are a big part of that.
You would be lucky to find a large studio in Rome for less than $1,000 a month, much less a nice apartment that also includes a bathtub. Some lifelong residents have turned to Airbnb as a way to supplement their income and fund the high cost of rent. The fact that grown adults have had to rent out their homes to strangers should tell you something about the housing costs of living in Rome.
14 Afford a Backyard- Vegas: Where People Come to Stay, But Not To Live
I have to admit that this next entry surprised me. I assumed that with all the tourism that the city of Las Vegas gets, that property rates in the city would be ungodly high. Apparently, this isn't the case.
Vegas is widely considered to be very affordable and you should easily be able to find a home with a backyard for less than $1,000. A lot of people may be coming to Vegas but it doesn't seem like many of them are staying. There are plenty of jobs in Vegas but apparently, not enough good jobs to attract a wave of migrants.
If you are lucky enough to find a job in Sin City, you should have no problem finding a nice apartment.
13 No Bathtub- Things Aren’t Cheap in Chicago
In another entry, I talk about the fact that people are willing to commute into Chicago from Milwaukee because the rents are so much cheaper in Wisconsin. This should tell you something about how expensive a typical apartment is in Chicago.
For a long time, the rents in Chicago varied depending on which part of the city you live with. Now, however, even the more run-down parts of the city, like the southside, have rental rates that have skyrocketed. This means that you will have to get very lucky to find an apartment for less than $1000 a month that has a bathtub.
12 Afford a Backyard- Trouble in Detroit
Sometimes a cities troubles are a godsend for the renters that live there. I recently read an article that talked about how cheap rent has become in Detroit, Michigan since the city is falling into depression.
This was a city that was totally reliant on manufacturing jobs and when those jobs went away, there wasn't a ton of money floating around. This meant that renters had to lower the prices for their apartments or risk having them sit empty.
Even now, you can easily find an apartment for less than $1000 that has a nice backyard.
11 No Bathtub- No Big Apartments Down by the Bay (San Francisco)
The price to rent an apartment in San Francisco is historically high. Beginning in the 1980s, large amounts of wealthy people begin moving into the bay area. This created a need for nicer houses that local companies couldn’t meet. A shortage in housing always leads rents to skyrocket.
Because jobs are plentiful in San Francisco, and city officials have done a good job of keeping the city nice, these high rent rates I've never gone down.
This means that you would currently be lucky to find ANY apartment in San Francisco for less than $1000 a month, much less one that has a bathtub.
10 Afford a Backyard- Winnipeg (A little slice of Canada)
This next entry should come with the disclaimer that I love Canadian cities. Whether it is due to their natural culture, or better city planning, they just seem nicer than cities of the same size in the United States. Unfortunately, the rent in Canadian cities is usually no cheaper.
You have to go much further west to find a large Canadian city with apartments for less than $1000 a month that still have a backyard. The most prominent of the cities is Winnipeg in the province of Manitoba. Despite being pretty isolated from the eastern part of the country, there is still a lot going on in Winnipeg, and it is still a great place to live.
9 No Bathtub- Boston Needs Another Revolution
I have personally felt the pain of this next entry. Moving from Pittsburgh to Boston, Massachusetts, I was shocked and dismayed to see how high the rents were. You can find a small, and by small, I mean studio apartment, in Boston for less than $1000 a month, but you are going to have to give up a lot of amenities to do so.
I have several friends who have apartments within the city, and none of them have a bathtub. City officials have tried a lot of methods to lower the rent prices in Boston but so far, none of them have been successful.
8 Afford a Backyard- Milwaukee; a Commuter’s Paradise
I currently have a 20-mile commute into a major city and just that short distance for me is nearly unbearable. I can't imagine, therefore, why some people would choose to commute all the way from Milwaukee to work in Chicago. Wait a minute, yes I do, it's because the rent prices in Milwaukee are so much more affordable though it makes the long train ride terrible.
Milwaukee and Chicago are about 90 miles away from one another, and there is a commuter train that runs between the two cities. Therefore, you can either pay for a tiny apartment in Chicago or pay the same amount for a nicer apartment with a big backyard in Milwaukee.
7 No Bathtub- Denver Is A Mile High And so are the prices
Journalists have spent the last two years attributing the rapid population growth in Denver to the fact that the state of Colorado legalized a former banned substance. This might be true but there are a lot of reasons why the Denver-Boulder area has become so popular.
Whatever the reason, the population growth has caused rent prices in the city to skyrocket. This means that an apartment with a bathtub for less than $1,000 a month is almost surely out of reach. The most alarming aspect of this trend is the fact that even the apartments outside the metropolitan centers are getting expensive.
6 Afford a Backyard- Philly Philly (Just stay away from the ritzy)
I am not personally interested in living in Philadelphia but it is one of the cheaper places to live on the east coast. If you look into the less ritzy neighborhoods, you should have no trouble finding a home with a backyard for less than $1,000 a month.
The only parts of the city where you should have a problem finding a cheap apartment are along the coast. I'm not saying that you would be better off living on the other side of the state in Pittsburgh but look at what each city has to offer before you commit to a cheap apartment in Philly.
5 No Bathtub- Los Angeles Is Not Budget-Friendly
It should come as a shock to no one that rent is outrageously expensive in Los Angeles. You always hear stories from famous performers about how they had to spend weeks sleeping on their friends' couches because they couldn’t find work when they first came out to LA.
Even if you have a good job, however, you still might struggle to afford the price of rent in Southern California. What this means is that you will have a lot of trouble finding an apartment with a backyard for less than $1,000 a night.
4 Afford a Backyard- Home on the Range (Helena, Montana)
Sometimes you have to give up the extravagance of the big city in order to recognize the things that you really want in life. Several of my friends used to claim that they would never live in a city like Helena, Montana, until they realized what $1,000 a month could get them there.
Rent prices are so cheap in Helena that you should easily be able to find an apartment with a yard for 1k a month, and a large one at that! Out of all the cities on this list, Helena is probably the one where you can get the most value for your buck as far as apartments.
3 No Bathtub- Miserable in Miami
Immigration and diaspora are a complicated subject but basically, people in the United States are steadily moving south and west. One of the major beneficiaries of this phenomenon has been the city of Miami.
Miami is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States. This is good for the businesses there and for residents that own a lot of property. It is not, however, good for renters.
The high demand for apartments has caused rent prices to skyrocket. Good luck finding an apartment in Miami for less than $1,000 a month.
2 Afford a Backyard- Sunny San Diego
A lot of the entries on this side of the list are from cities in the Rust Belt that have had to lower rent to accommodate poorer residents but that is not universally true. There are several cities with a warmer climate where rent is also very affordable. A good example of this is San Diego, a place that is consistently ranked as one of the nicest places to live in California.
Rent here is not as affordable as it is in places like Detroit or Milwaukee but you should still be able to find a fairly nice apartment, with a nice backyard, for less than $1000 a month.
1 No Bathtub- Love Isn't Cheap (Paris, France)
The city of Paris has been romanticized by popular culture for centuries. How many movies have you seen that include a scene of two lovers eating lunch or dinner in the shadow of the Eiffel tower? Because of Paris’ legendary status, there are always tons of people trying to live there. Like any other city in the world, this causes the rent prices there to skyrocket. If you're looking for an apartment in Paris that has a bathtub, you have to pay much more than $1000 a month. For a lot of people, this is worth it, thanks to the immediate access to so many famous museums and works of art.