Where Are The Safest Places for Renters?

in Renter Life

Finding a place to rent doesn’t mean you should pay an arm and a leg to live in a safe neighborhood that has all the amenities of a large city. As a renter, you have to worry about employment opportunities, commute time, access to public transportation, and nearby schools if you have kids.

The rental situation before the coronavirus pandemic was ridiculously expensive that minimum-wage earners couldn’t afford to rent a one-bedroom apartment in most cities in the U.S. unless they held more than two jobs.

The housing situation may change due to a looming recession brought on by the COVID-19 crisis, but we won’t know for sure until everything blows over. As for now, however, finding a safe and affordable place to live seems like an impossible challenge. If you’re a renter looking for a neighborhood with the elusive mix of safety and affordability, you’ve come to the right place. We’re using data from a GOBankingRates study that ranked 200 of the largest cities in the U.S. based on average crime rate, rent, cost of homes, groceries, transportation, and utilities.

Here are the top-12 safest and most affordable places to live in the U.S. if you’re renting.

12. Augusta, Georgia.

  • Metropolitan Area: Augusta-Richmond County.
  • Median List Price for Homes: $124,900
  • Median Rent: $1,117
  • Violent Crime Rate per 1,000 People: 3.52
  • Property Crime Rate per 1,000 People: 39.15

Augusta has one of the most affordable housing markets on this list, but utility costs can be a tad higher.

11. Clarksville, Tennessee.

  • Metropolitan Area: Clarksville
  • Median List Price for Homes: $225,000
  • Median Rent: $1,071.
  • Violent Crime Rate per 1,000 People: 6.25
  • Property Crime Rate per 1,000 People: 29.16

Clarksville has a lot going for it: median rent, transportation, and groceries are some of the lowest on this list.

10. Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

  • Metropolitan Area: Sioux Falls
  • Median List Price for Homes: $225,000
  • Median Rent: $1,196
  • Violent Crime Rate per 1,000 People: 4.53
  • Property Crime Rate per 1,000 People: 28.4

The $4,098 average transportation costs in Sioux Falls are one of the most affordable on this list. However, groceries cost an average of $4,236 annually, which is one of the highest.

9. Akron, Ohio.

  • Metropolitan Area: Akron
  • Median List Price for Homes: $69,900
  • Median Rent: $754
  • Violent Crime Rate per 1,000 People: 6.99
  • Property Crime Rate per 1,000 People: 43.18

Akron is by far the most affordable place to buy or rent a home, which can be a godsend in today’s soaring property market. The only wrinkle if you plan on living here is the violent crime rate, which is one of the highest on this list. If you choose to rent in Akron, it’s best to conduct a criminal records search on your neighbors before moving in.

8. Aurora, Illinois.

  • Metropolitan Area: Chicago-Elgin-Naperville
  • Median List Price for Homes: $214,900
  • Median Rent: $1,903.
  • Violent Crime Rate per 1,000 People: 2.58
  • Property Crime Rate per 1,000 People: 13.36

If safety is your number one priority, look no further than Aurora, which has one of the lowest crime rates on this list. However, you’ll have to pay extra for peace of mind, because the area has the second-highest median rent prices of all ranked places, plus groceries are 4x more expensive here.

7. Killeen, Texas.

  • Metropolitan Area: Killeen-Fort Hood-Temple
  • Median List Price for Homes: $150,000
  • Median Rent: $958
  • Violent Crime Rate per 1,000 People: 7.72
  • Property Crime Rate per 1,000 People: 28.7

Killeen is one of the most affordable places to rent a house, but its violent crime rate is the second-highest among top-ranking places on this list.

6. Lubbock, Texas.

  • Metropolitan Area: Lubbock
  • Median List Price for Homes: $189,900
  • Median Rent: $1,153
  • Violent Crime Rate per 1,000 People: 5.23
  • Property Crime Rate per 1,000 People: 40.16

If groceries are your primary area of concern, living in Lubbock takes care of that. The city has one of the lowest average annual grocery expenses at $3,818. It’s cheap to get around too, only costing residents $3,949 in average transportation annually.

5. Boise, Idaho.

  • Metropolitan Area: Boise City-Nampa
  • Median List Price for Homes: $339,400
  • Median Rent: $1,373
  • Violent Crime Rate per 1,000 People: 2.78
  • Property Crime Rate per 1,000 People: 24.35

The median list price of homes in Boise is pretty high, but the city has the second-lowest utility costs among all the places on this list.

4. Edmond, Oklahoma.

  • Metropolitan Area: Oklahoma City.
  • Median List Price for Homes: $295,000
  • Median Rent: $1,430
  • Violent Crime Rate per 1,000 People: 1.72
  • Property Crime Rate per 1,000 People: 13.92

Edmond ranks high as one of the safest cities to rent in the U.S., boasting of the fourth-lowest property crime rate among all the other places on this list. However, some living expenses, such as transportation, tend to be more expensive than other cities.

3. Fort Wayne, Indiana.

  • Metropolitan Area: Fort Wayne
  • Median List Price for Homes: $164,900
  • Median Rent: $1,044
  • Violent Crime Rate per 1,000 People: 3.59
  • Property Crime Rate per 1,000 People: 31.91

If you’re sick of paying for high utility bills, Fort Wayne is the place to be. Average utility bills only cost residents $3,479 annually.

2. El Paso, Texas.

  • Metropolitan Area: El Paso
  • Median List Price for Homes: $177,000
  • Median Rent: $1,002
  • Violent Crime Rate per 1,000 People: 3.87
  • Property Crime Rate per 1,000 People: 18.89

El Paso is a large city that ranks near the top in affordability and safety. Crime rates are low, and groceries will only set you back $3,818 on average annually.

1. Brownsville, Texas

  • Metropolitan Area: Brownsville-Harlingen
  • Median List Price for Homes: $145,000
  • Median Rent: $900
  • Violent Crime Rate per 1,000 People: 3.52
  • Property Crime Rate per 1,000 People: 29.93

Brownsville tops the list of the safest AND most affordable places to live in the U.S. if you’re renting. The median rent here is the fourth-lowest among the places on this list, and the city boasts of some of the lowest average grocery and utility costs. 

Conclusion

You don’t have to settle for less just because you’re renting. There are more than enough decent and safe places in the U.S. to grow your roots a little before you can buy a home and settle down for good. The 20 or so other cities that didn’t crack the top-10 are all pretty excellent and worth a look, too. The key here is balance: some places have lower rental costs and utilities, but higher crime rates. Rent in other areas hover over the $1,000 mark, but groceries and crime are lower. 

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