When you’re looking for a new apartment, knowing the average rental rate can help you make an informed decision and establish your budget. Exactly how much should you be willing to shell out for rent on a monthly basis? Here are the average rental rates for 18 major cities:

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Heavy Hitters: Rental Rates in Expensive Cities

Across the country, the top three most expensive rental markets are New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles. Boasting average one-bedroom rental rates of $4,105; $3,430 and $2,319, respectively, these urban playgrounds for the mega-rich have come under fire for their exorbitantly high prices.

For example, increased demand for San Francisco housing has been spurred mainly by the influx of tech workers to the area. Being the major city closest to technology behemoths such as Google and Apple, many programmers moving to the area looking to work in Silicon Valley choose to live in San Fran.

The result has been steadily rising housing prices that have caused long-time residents to speak out against the new arrivals to their city.

Cheap Digs: Rental Rates in Affordable Cities

If living life as a high-roller on Park Avenue is still a few years away for you, perhaps you should be investigating some of the more affordable cities. You can get a nice little studio for under $1,000 a month in cities such as Charlotte, North Carolina; Phoenix, Arizona; Sacramento, California and Las Vegas.

In fact, Las Vegas is so cheap that you can expect to pay somewhere around $560 a month for a studio set-up. Of course, living in the old LV means putting up with the nightly cavalcade of tourists on the strip and brutal desert weather conditions, but hey, things could be worse.

To be honest, seeing Charlotte on the list of cheap cities is a welcome sight. The southern city is often recognized for its combination of small-town charm and big city electricity. It is the second largest banking center in the country, after New York City.

Of course, the big difference between the two cities is that a studio in Charlotte will only run you $977 while the same room in NYC is likely to go for upwards of $3,095.

At the end of the day, rents are rising across this great land. However, there are still bastions of hope for those looking for a place that they can realistically afford.

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