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Planning to Move? These 21 Cities Will Get Cheaper in 2019

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It seems like every year, living costs continue to increase and home prices continue to skyrocket in major cities. Meanwhile, income levels remain mostly stagnant, which can make it harder and harder to get by in some parts of the country. But in some cities, it’s actually getting cheaper to live thanks to decreasing rent prices and — in the case of most cities on this list — rising incomes.

In a new study, GOBankingRates looked at the cities where rent is decreasing the most. We also looked at changes in the median income over the past three years, because growth in income could make housing comparatively more affordable. If you’re a renter planning to move next year, check out the cities where housing is becoming cheaper.

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  • Current rent price: $1,566
  • Forecasted 2019 rent price: $1,564

Rent costs are expected to drop 0.13 percent over the next year in Philadelphia — but income in the city has also been declining. The median income has dropped an average of 1.78 percent each year from 2015 to 2017, and now stands at $39,759. On this list, it’s one of three cities where incomes have been declining.

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Birmingham, Ala.

  • Current rent price: $1,047
  • Forecasted 2019 rent price: $1,045

Even though rent prices are only expected to drop 0.19 percent over the next year, Birmingham will continue to have the most affordable rent of all the cities on this list. It’s also one of the cities becoming more affordable for prospective homeowners, another GOBankingRates study found.


  • Current rent price: $1,548
  • Forecasted 2019 rent price: $1,546

Like Philadelphia, rent costs in Houston are expected to drop 0.13 percent year-over-year. But unlike Philadelphia, the median income has been rising in recent years. The median income in the city is now $50,896.

New Orleans

  • Current rent price: $1,361
  • Forecasted 2019 rent price: $1,345

New Orleans is one of the cities where rent is falling substantially — 1.18 percent, which is the second-largest change on this list. However, it’s also been experiencing the largest decrease in income, with an average change of 2.68 percent each year from 2015 to 2017. It’s one of three cities on this list where incomes are declining, which means housing isn’t as cheap as it would be if incomes had been increasing.

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  • Current rent price: $1,140
  • Forecasted 2019 rent price: $1,132

Cleveland is one of several Midwestern cities to make this list. The cost of rent in Cleveland is expected to drop 0.7 percent, while incomes should continue to increase. The median income has risen from $28,831 in 2015 to $28,974 in 2017 — but the city still has the lowest median income in this ranking.

See: 20 US Cities Where You Can Own a Home for Less Than $1K a Month

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Austin, Texas

  • Current rent price: $1,683
  • Forecasted 2019 rent price: $1,682

Although the drop in rent costs in Austin is expected to be small — just 0.06 percent — it’s a city where incomes are rising significantly. The median income has risen an average of 4.37 percent each year from 2015 to 2017, and now stands at $67,755.

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Virginia Beach, Va.

  • Current rent price: $1,409
  • Forecasted 2019 rent price: $1,407

Virginia Beach is the best place to live if you want to save money, another GOBankingRates study found. That’s thanks to a high median income — $72,586 — and a low cost of living. The cost of living will be getting even lower, as rents are expected to drop 0.14 percent in 2019.

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San Antonio

  • Current rent price: $1,330
  • Forecasted 2019 rent price: $1,322

San Antonio is already one of the best big cities for renters because of the low cost of living, warm weather and available amenities. Rent is becoming even more affordable there — prices are expected to drop 0.6 percent in the coming year.

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Washington, D.C.

  • Current rent price: $2,133
  • Forecasted 2019 rent price: $2,130

Washington, D.C. is one of the most expensive places to be a renter in the U.S., but fortunately, rents are forecasted to begin declining in the next year. The cost of rent is expected to decrease by 0.14 percent, while the median income could rise by 4.47 percent, which has been the average change in income over the past three years.

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Buffalo, N.Y.

  • Current rent price: $1,199
  • Forecasted 2019 rent price: $1,195

Buffalo is a city where you can realistically live on minimum wage, a separate GOBankingRates study found. And it should become easier for people to get by, as rents are expected to drop by 0.33 percent. Meanwhile, the median income has been rising by an average of 3.51 percent a year.

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Louisville-Jefferson County, Ky.

  • Current rent price: $1,189
  • Forecasted 2019 rent price: $1,185

Louisville is an affordable place to move, whether you’re looking to buy or rent. Rent prices are expected to drop 0.34 percent, and it’s one of the cities where home prices are getting slashed as well.

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St. Louis

  • Current rent price: $1,139
  • Forecasted 2019 rent price: $1,135

The Midwest is a good place to move if you’re looking for affordability — St. Louis is one of five Midwestern cities on this list. Rent is becoming cheaper, and it’s already a city where you can afford to live off less than $50,000, with inexpensive groceries and utilities as well.

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Oklahoma City

  • Current rent price: $1,091
  • Forecasted 2019 rent price: $1,082

Oklahoma City is already among the cities where rent is more affordable, and rent prices are expected to drop 0.82 percent over the next year. The median income has been rising an average of 1.34 percent each year and is currently $52,062.



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  • Current rent price: $1,312
  • Forecasted 2019 rent price: $1,300

Milwaukee is one of five major Midwest cities that’s expected to be more affordable for renters in 2019. However, Milwaukee is one of the cities where rent is cheap, but the cost of living isn’t, so renters should be aware of other expenses before moving there. Healthcare and utility costs in Milwaukee are higher than the national average, a previous GOBankingRates study found.

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  • Current rent price: $1,085
  • Forecasted 2019 rent price: $1,079

Pittsburgh is one of two Pennsylvania cities where it’s becoming more affordable to live. The median income has been rising an average of 5.41 percent every year from 2015 to 2017, and the rent price is expected to drop 0.55 percent from now to next year.

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  • Current rent price: $1,635
  • Forecasted 2019 rent price: $1,623

Chicago is part of a larger trend, as several major cities in the Midwest are forecast to become more affordable in the next year. Rent in the Windy City is predicted to be 0.73 percent less in 2019.

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Nashville, Tenn.

  • Current rent price: $1,491
  • Forecasted 2019 rent price: $1,482

Rent prices in Nashville are expected to drop 0.60 percent over the next year, and as housing is becoming more affordable, income is increasing. The income in Music City has risen an average of 5.99 percent each year from 2015 to 2017.

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San Jose, Calif.

  • Current rent price: $3,499
  • Forecasted 2019 rent price: $3,476

Even though rent prices are expected to decrease in San Jose, it’s still anticipated to have the highest rent of all the cities on this list in 2019. On the plus side, the median income has been climbing rapidly, with an average of a 7.08 percent increase each year from 2015 to 2017. The median income in the city is $104,675.

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Hartford, Conn.

  • Current rent price: $1,561
  • Forecasted 2019 rent price: $1,528

Hartford rent prices are expected to drop the most compared to the other cities on this list, with a forecasted 2.11 percent decrease. However, the median income has also been decreasing, from $34,240 in 2015 to $33,677 in 2017. It’s one of three cities in this ranking where incomes have been dropping.

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San Francisco

  • Current rent price: $3,399
  • Forecasted 2019 rent price: $3,379

San Francisco is one of the three U.S. cities where rental rates are the highest, but those costs are forecasted to decline. Meanwhile, incomes are climbing. The median income in the NorCal city increased an average of 9.74 percent each year from 2015 to 2017 — the largest average increase of all the cities on this list. And it now has the highest median income at $110,816.

Find Out: How Much You Need to Live Comfortably in 50 Major US Cities

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  • Current rent price: $1,195
  • Forecasted 2019 rent price: $1,182

An anticipated large percent drop in rent — 1.09 percent — plus a high average percent change in median income — 6.97 percent — put Indianapolis at the top of this list. It’s one of five Midwestern cities that’s becoming more affordable.

For even more affordable places to live, click through to see the cheapest cities to live in the world.

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Methodology: GOBankingRates determined which cities will get cheaper in 2019 by looking at housing prices and median incomes over a three-year period. Because rent prices are an immediate indication of how the housing market will change, GOBankingRates used Zillow to find forecast data on renting costs in major U.S. cities and found which cities will experience a decrease in rental prices. Once GOBankingRates determined which cities will experience the biggest decreases in rental prices, GOBankingRates found the three-year percentage change in median income for each given city to see which cities are experiencing the greatest increase in income since growth in incomes would make housing comparatively more affordable. GOBankingRates ranked both forecasted rental prices and percentage increase in income to find which city is forecasted to become cheaper in 2019. Fifty cities were included for this study. Zillow rental prices are accurate as of  September 2018, and median household incomes span across 2015, 2016 and 2017.