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Renting across the USA: What $1,500/month gets in 25 cities

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From an all-grey efficiency studio to a three-bedroom house

A $1,489/month one-bedroom unit in Houston, Texas.
Zillow

Welcome to Curbed Comparisons, a column that explores what one can rent or buy for a set dollar amount in various cities across the U.S.

In our recurring exploration of what the real estate market looks like in various major U.S. cities, we’ve already looked at what kind of home you can get for $250,000, $500,000, and $1 million. Now it’s time to turn our attention to rentals, starting with a middle-of-the-road rent of $1,500 a month.

As you’ll see in the listings spotlighted below, $1,500 a month should be able to rent at least a comfortable one-bedroom in most cities. But of course, the inventory reduces to studios of various styles and conditions in both the notoriously expensive cities like New York and San Francisco, as well as increasingly in-demand places like Portland, Oregon. Take a closer look.

Atlanta, GA

3 beds, 2 baths, 1,404 sq.ft. — Cute as a button, this petite house in Atlanta’s historic West End neighborhood comes newly renovated with hardwood floors, tiled bathrooms, stainless steel appliances, and a brick fireplace. There’s also a deck on the back.

Austin, TX

1 bed, 1 bath, 1,386 sq.ft. — Live large in this spacious modern one-bedroom located a short drive from downtown Austin. Enjoy a granite kitchen island, laundry in unit, and a communal pool and fitness center.

Boston, MA

1 bed, 1 bath, 450 sq.ft. — The listing for this South End apartment says 450 square feet, but it does look a bit more roomy. The living space has multiple new windows and the bedroom is big enough for a Queen bed.

Chicago, IL

1 bed, 1 bath, 700 sq.ft. — Located in Chicago’s Buena Park neighborhood, named an “unsung Lakeside gem” by Chicago Magazine, this modern apartment comes fully furnished—and that includes pots and pans as well as a Queen-sized Murphy bed in the bedroom. The open-plan living and dining area, on the other hand, is a lot more spacious.

Detroit, MI

2 bed, 2 bath, 1,090 sq.ft. — Get an indulgent two bedrooms and two baths in this unit in a gated riverfront high rise. Expansive windows provide lots of sunlight and downtown views. There’s also a terrace and access to a communal pool, fitness center, and lagoon.

Denver, CO

1 bed, 1 bath, 880 sq.ft. — This cozy duplex unit dates back to 1886 but has an updated kitchen and bathroom, along with exposed brick. The property comes with a fenced back yard—shared with neighbors next door—that allows some room to garden.

Durham, NC

2 beds, 1 bath, 1,250 sq.ft. — Compact and adorable, this Durham cottage offers hardwood floors throughout, a wood-burning fireplace, and an updated kitchen and bathroom. The backyard is generous and includes a storage shed.

The Hamptons: Hampton Bays, NY

1 bed, 1 bath, 600 sq.ft. — Have your own perch in the 13,600-person hamlet of Hampton Bays in this unfurnished upper unit. The listing boasts of “cool breezes from the bay.”

Honolulu, HI

Studio, 1 bath — Located right in the waterfront Waikiki neighborhood, this studio unit gets you the no-frills hotel treatment because it appears to be a part of a Wyndham resorts complex.

Houston, TX

1 bed, 1 bath, 811 sq.ft. — Live the stylish city dweller life in this modern unit in Midtown Houston, one of the most walkable neighborhoods in the city. The garden-style complex includes two fitness centers, two “beach-style” pools, and a fenced-in “Bark Park.”

Las Vegas, NV

4 beds, 3 baths, 1,809 sq.ft. — This is your standard newer construction fare, with an open living room and kitchen, hardwood floor,s and glass doors to outdoor areas. It’s located, for better or worse, 20 miles northwest of the Strip.

Los Angeles, CA

Studio, 1 bath — It’s a studio but it’s a charming one. Located in a Hollywood-area Mediterranean-style building, the unit comes totally remodeled with new flooring, cabinetry, not to mention exposed brick and walkable access to shops, cafes, and theaters.

Miami, FL

1 bed, 1 bath, 609 sq.ft. — Get a bit of both the contemporary and traditional in this apartment in Shenandoah, one of Miami’s oldest neighborhoods. The space features porcelain tile floors, walk-in closets, and washer/dryer in unit.

Minneapolis, MN

2 beds, 1 bath, 1,100 sq.ft. — Cozy is the name of the game in this duplex with a spacious living and dining room, built-ins, sunroom, leaded glass windows, and generous yard. The area is also walkable to shops and restaurants.

New Orleans, LA

2 beds, 1 bath, 900 sq.ft. — Located in the bustling French Quarter, this unit combines historic charm and modern convenience. There’s an arched doorway, fireplace, and French doors, but also updated bathroom, floors, and a lush yard.

New York, NY

Studio, 1 bath — Here we have a no-fuss, no-broker-fee studio apartment in West Harlem. You get the standard hardwood floors and stainless steel appliances, plus a modern touch with recessed lighting.

Orlando, FL

3 beds, 2 baths, 1,455 sq.ft. — Enjoy plenty of space in this 2003-built house with an open-plan living area, high ceilings, and two-car garage. Located in northwest Orlando, it’s close to University of Central Florida, and well, far from Disney World.

Philadelphia, PA

1 bed, 1 bath, 975 sq.ft. — Live the charming townhouse life in this Rittenhouse Square apartment. The second-floor unit is spacious, with hardwood floors, central air, high ceilings, and a gorgeous decorative mantel.

Phoenix, AZ

2 beds, 1 bath, 805 sq.ft. — Wow wow! This is a newly remodeled unit in a property by noted desert architect Al Beadle. That explains the modernist cool. The complex also includes a pool.

Pittsburgh, PA

2 beds, 1 bath, 1,050 sq.ft. — This is an apartment with personality, located in Pittsburgh’s East End. Tiles, brick, nooks, irregular ceilings, you can find it all here.

Portland, OR

Studio, 1 bath — This bright, brand new cottage is an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU), or a secondary home on a property, a type of affordable, high-density housing encouraged by the city. It comes with a private stone patio, garden space, and attic storage.

San Diego, CA

1 bed, 1 bath, 550 sq.ft. — This cottage-style unit with new paint job and flooring sits on a lush, landscaped property with a fountain. It’s in a walkable neighborhood near Balboa Park.

San Francisco, CA

Studio, 1 bath — “Tiny, but cute” is how the listing describes this all-grey efficiency studio (read: no kitchen) with new carpet and paint. That seems almost like a steal for its hip Cow Hollow location, sandwiched between the posh Marina District and Pacific Heights.

Seattle, WA

1 bed, 1 bath Located on Lighthouse Point, this contemporary unit offers beach community living along the Puget Sound. Interior features include bamboo flooring, and a Murphy bed with built-in shelves.

Washington, D.C.

Studio, 1 bath, 560 sq.ft. — This unfurnished basement studio in Mount Vernon Square has nine-foot ceilings and exposed brick. The photos don’t seem to suggest so, but the listing promises “lots of natural light.”