BAM Key Details:

  • A new report by RentCafe highlights the zip codes where renters get the most space for the national average rent of $1,700 a month—as well as zip codes where renters get the least space for that amount. 
  • Zip codes in the South and Midwest dominate the top 50 zip codes with the most space for $1,700, while New York City has 36 of the 50 zip codes with the least space, with the other 14 in either San Francisco, CA or Boston, MA. 

Shopping for a home to rent can be every bit as challenging as finding a home to purchase. And one of the biggest trade-offs renters face is the question of location vs square footage

Renters who want more living space will pay a premium for it if they also want to live in a prime location. But some zip codes offer more options for renters wanting to live closer to the cultural heart of their chosen metro—without scrapping their budget. 

RentCafe analyzed 1,600 zip codes (in the 50 largest U.S. cities) to identify those that offer the most space for the national average rent of $1,700—as well as those with the least space for that amount. 

Some offer up to 2,000 square feet for that price, while those at the other end of the spectrum have about one-tenth the legroom. 

Read on for the highlights. 

Average square footage and city-specific ranges

So, how much space can you get across the 50 largest metros for $1,700 a month?

On average, you’re looking at an apartment with about 944 square feet. But square footage varies widely from one region to another—and even within the same city. 

Memphis, TN has four of the top 10 U.S. zip codes with the most space for $1,700. In Memphis zip code 38109, renters can get up to 2,000 square feet for that amount. Renters in Oklahoma City zip 73127 can get close to the same. 

Meanwhile, NYC dominates the list of 50 U.S. zip codes with the least amount of space for $1,700 a month, claiming 36 of those spots. 

Manhattan’s 10013 offers renters about 211 square feet for the same cost—about one-tenth the legroom of a Memphis apartment. 

Even at city level, though, the amount of space renters can get for $1,700 can vary depending on the zip code:

  • In Los Angeles, square footage ranges from 362 to 704, depending on whether you choose a studio in less desirable neighborhoods or a large one-bedroom in the outskirts.
  • In Washington, D.C., renters can get 375 to 1,057 square feet, with options ranging from a small downtown studio to a two-bedroom in the Southeast.
  • Chicago renters can get 459 to 1,376 square feet, depending on whether they choose a one-bedroom in central zip codes or a 2-3 bedroom unit in areas like Englewood.
  • Houston offers renters between 566 to 1,616 square feet, with options that include a one-bedroom condo to a larger family home, depending on location. 
  • Philadelphia renters can get 481 to 1,499 square feet, from a one-bedroom downtown apartment to a larger one further out along transit lines.

Source: RentCafe

Southern zip codes lead in apartment space for $1,700, with Memphis at #1

Zip codes with the most and least space for renters paying $1,700 a month in Memphis, TN: 

  • Memphis zip 38109 has the most space for $1,700 a month in the entire U.S. at an average of 1,996 square feet.
  • Memphis zip 38103 offers the lowest average square footage for this metro at an average of 982 square feet for the same budget.

Source: RentCafe

Looking at Texas, specifically at San Antonio and Houston zip codes, space options are arranged in concentric circles, with the least space for $1,700 at the core and the most space in a middle ring before space again starts to shrink as you move further out. 

  • Alamo City zip code 78211 offers the most generous square footage in San Antonio, TX, at 1,971 square feet. 
  • At 764 square feet, NoDo’s 78215 offers the least amount of space for the same price. 

Source: RentCafe

Among Northeast metros, NYC offers the least living space for $1,700

Zip codes with the greatest amount of space in the Northeast:

  • Six zip codes in the Northeast—all located in Philadelphia—offer renters more than 1,000 square feet for $1,700 a month. 
  • Zip code 19135, in the historic neighborhood of Tocany, offers the most legroom at 1,499 square feet. 

Zip codes with the least amount of space in the Northeast:

  • Manhattan zip code 10013 offers the least amount of space at 211 square feet for $1,700 a month. 
  • Manhattan renters looking for more space can look to zip code 10033, which stretches across parts of Washington Heights and offers a more generous 566 square feet for the same budget. 

New York City has 36 of the 50 zip codes offering the least amount of square footage for $1,700 a month. The remaining 14 are in either San Francisco, CA or Boston, MA. 

The Boston zip code with the most space for the same price is 02126 with 681 square feet. The smallest apartments in Boston are in zip code 02210. 

Source: RentCafe

Space vs location in prime Pacific metros

In the West region—and especially in Pacific hotspots like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego—renters will find the least amount of space in zip codes where they’re closest to the cultural centers of these metros. 

Zip codes with the greatest amount of space in Pacific metros: 

  • In San Francisco, zip 94132 offers the city’s most spacious apartments with 474 square feet for $1,700 a month.
  • Los Angeles zip 90008 offers renters the most space in the city at 704 square feet for the same price. 
  • San Diego’s Oak Park zip 92105 offers the most space in the city for renters at 798 square feet for the same amount. 

Source: RentCafe

Kansas City vs Chicago: Midwest offers a vast range of different size options

Zip codes with the greatest amount of space in the Midwest:

  • Kansas City zip 64136 offers the most space in the metro for renters at 1,841 square feet for $1,700 a month.
  • Chicago zip 60621—in the Englewood neighborhood—offers renters the most spacious options in the city at 1,376 square feet for the same budget. 

Zip codes with the least amount of space in the Midwest:

  • Kansas City zip 64106 offers the least amount of space in the metro for renters at 837 square feet for the same monthly rent. 
  • Chicago zip 60611—in the bustling Near North Side area—offers renters the smallest apartments in the city at 459 square feet. 

Source: RentCafe

Mountain area metros: Phoenix, Denver, etc.

Zip codes with the greatest and least amount of space in Phoenix, AZ:

  • Phoenix zip 85041—in the vibrant Laveen neighborhood—offers renters the most space in the city for $1,700 a month at 1,090 square feet.
  • Less than a 20-mile drive away, Phoenix downtown zip 85004 offers the least space in the city for renters at 658 square feet for the same budget. 

Zip codes with the greatest and least amount of space in Denver, CO:

  • Denver zip code 80224—surrounding the Virginia Village neighborhood—offers the most space in the city for renters at 934 square feet for $1,700 a month. 
  • Zip 80211—in the friendly Highland neighborhood—offers the least amount of rental space at 587 square feet for the same budget. 

Source: RentCafe

Read the full report on RentCafe for more information, including methodology.