New York: The City That Will Break Your Bank for a One-Bedroom Apartment

In many large cities around the world, renting an apartment can be a costly affair. The high demand for housing in these areas, coupled with limited space and the convenience of urban living, often results in steep rental prices. For those seeking a one-bedroom apartment, the costs can be particularly eye-watering.

Want to live in New York? Think again.

Over the past month, New York City was hit with a double whammy. It had the highest overall rent level for one-bedroom apartments in large cities ($3,168) and experienced the highest increase in year-over-year rent (+12.8 percent).

“Median asking rent for one-bedroom apartments barely changed between January and February, posting a 1 percent (or $13) decrease since January,” says Jonas Bordo, CEO and cofounder of Dwellsy. “In fact, during the two years Dwellsy has been tracking this data, apartment rent has stayed relatively stable, with an overall decline of 2.5 percent during that time period.”

“On the other end of the spectrum, rent in San Diego fell 5.6 percent since February 2022,” says Bordo. “But decreasing rent might not feel that exciting to renters when their city is still the seventh most expensive large market.”

In addition to San Diego, four more cities on this list are located in California. This table shows which large cities had the most expensive February 2023 asking rent for one-bedroom apartments.



Metropolitan Statistical Area

Median One-Bedroom Apartment Asking Rent,
February 2023

Change Since February 2022


New York, NY

 $         3,168

+ 12.8%


San Francisco, CA

 $         2,495

+ 4.2%


Boston, MA

 $         2,448

+ 2.0%


San Jose, CA

 $         2,380

+ 7.4%


Washington, DC

 $         2,053

+ 0.3%


Los Angeles, CA

 $         2,013

+ 0.9%


San Diego, CA

 $         1,958

– 5.6%


Riverside-San Bernardino, CA

 $         1,795

+ 1.1%


Honolulu, HI

 $         1,750

+ 6.1%


Seattle, WA

 $         1,745

+ 3.9%



Top Ten Most Expensive Small Cities for One-Bedroom Apartment Rentals

Once again, California cities have claimed half of the spots on this list. The Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta metro area gets the dubious honor of first place, with a one-bedroom apartment costing $2,186 per month.

“Number two Ithaca, New York, really stands out because rent there has increased by a whopping 52.6 percent since February 2022,” says Bordo. “Ithaca assures visitors that it’s a place ‘where great minds meet the great outdoors.’ With this increase in prices, those great minds are hopefully experiencing great accommodations, too!”

Ithaca isn’t the only Northeast market with surging rents. The metro areas of Burlington-South Burlington, Vermont, and Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, New York, have seen year-over-year rent increases of 31.5 percent and 28.6 percent, respectively.

This table shows which small cities had the most expensive February 2023 asking rent for one-bedroom apartments.



Metropolitan Statistical Area

Median One-Bedroom Apartment February 2023 Asking Rent

Change Since February 2022


Santa Barbara-Santa Maria- Goleta, CA

 $         2,186

+ 1.7%


Ithaca, NY

 $         2,003

+ 52.6%


Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT

 $         1,889

+ 11.1%


Salinas, CA

 $         1,873

+ 8.6%


Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA

 $         1,850

+ 6.6%


Vallejo-Fairfield, CA

 $         1,825

– 1.5%


Poughkeepsie-Newburgh- Middletown, NY

 $         1,800

+ 28.6%


Burlington-South Burlington, VT

 $         1,775

+ 31.5%


Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA

 $         1,750

+ 9.4%


Bozeman, MT

 $         1,700

+ 0.0%


“As we move ahead, I expect apartment rents in most markets to stay fairly flat,” Bordo concludes. “We’re expecting more new apartments in 2023—near-record levels, in fact—which will keep supply-and-demand tipped in renters’ favor. Plus, the Fed’s efforts to combat inflation are also likely to put a damper on increased rents.”

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Hi! I am a millennial mom with a passion for personal finance. I have always been “into” personal finance but got inspired to start my blog after a period of extended unemployment. That experience really changed the way I viewed my relationship with money and the importance of accessible personal finance education.