In my line of work, radio, buying a home is something many of us just don't do. Mostly because the lyrics to the "WKRP In Cincinnati" theme song ring true. "Got kind of tired packing and unpacking, Town to town and up and down the dial."  Radio is a business where you never know when you'll be promoted, fired, or moved. And a lot of times, any of those things will take you to a new place. So not having a home to unload isn't a bad thing. As an apartment renter myself, I wanted to know what's the best and worst towns in Missouri for renters.

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Stacker recently looked at Missouri towns and cities where renters are the most overextended in Missouri. In other words, those towns where you're spending more of your yearly income and generally paying more per month to rent. Their list was figured out by using the median gross rent per month, combined with the % of household income one will spend per year on housing. (General advice there, is that you should be spending 30% or less of your yearly income on an apartment.)

West Central Missouri

In our neck of the woods, Sedalia and Warrensburg, we're middle of the pack. When I moved here I had a heck of a time finding a place to live. I had some non-negotiable things on my apartment list including a large dog, and it made it really difficult to find a place to live. Pets, especially larger pets, are rather frowned upon by landlords in the area, and with under 40% of Sedalia and Warrensburg's housing units being rentals, landlords kind of have the advantage over those looking to rent.

Going strictly by the numbers, however, Warrensburg places #15 on Stacker's list of where renters are overextended and Sedalia #10 on the list. It's better, by the way, to be higher on the list.

Renters in Warrensburg can expect to spend 27% of their income on housing and the median rent is $829 a month. (Median rent, is the midpoint of what people are spending on rent. Half of the folks renting are paying more, half paying less.)

Renters in Sedalia, which places #10 on Stacker's list of where renters are overextended can expect to spend 28% of their income on housing and the median rent is $774 per month.

Where Do KC and St. Louis Rank On the List?

Kansas City places #16 on the list. Like Warrensburg, renters can expect to spend 27% percent of their income on a rental, and the median monthly rent is $1052 a month. Believe it or not, St. Louis ranks above Sedalia on Stacker's list, coming in at #11. St. Louis renters can expect to spend 28% of their income on rent, however, the median monthly rent in St. Louis is less than in Kansas City, at $952 a month.

The Best Towns In Missouri To Rent An Apartment

The best towns in Missouri to rent an apartment in include Jefferson City, Lebanon, Hannibal, and Mexico. All have a median rent of under $725 a month, and renters will spend under 26.5% of their yearly income on their rent.

The best town on Stacker's list is Fort Leonard Wood. While the median rent at Fort Leonard Wood is high, $1,028. Renters will only be spending 23% of their yearly income on renting a home there.

The Worst Towns In Missouri To Rent An Apartment

While our state's capitol Jefferson City is one of the best places to rent an apartment, Columbia is one of the worst. As is Rolla, Poplar Bluff, Jopplin, and Marshall. It's not so much the median rent that's the issue in these towns. It's that you're going to need to spend 28%  - 30% of your household income in these towns.

The worst town to rent an apartment is Kirksville according to Stacker's list. While the median rent in Kirksville is only $686 a month, renters will be spending 31% of their yearly income on renting a home there.


Of course, when it comes to renting a home or an apartment, your mileage will vary. There are those folks who know someone who's got a place to rent and can score a sweet deal. Then there are those folks who find themselves under the gun to find a place or have certain non-negotiable needs that will just wind up costing them more in rent every month. Not to mention, most of us live somewhere because we need to be there for a job, family, etc.

Also, it's about how much you take home per year. I'm sure the Stacker list figured out what the average household salary was per town, or used a median household yearly income, to determine the percentage of take-home pay someone's spending on a rental. If you make more than that average or are on the positive side of a median income, you may find yourself not feeling the rental pinch as much as a town's average resident.

Of course, my best advice to those who rent has less to do with the money spent than this. A great responsive landlord who takes care of problems quickly. Screens renters to keep out troublemakers. And pretty much leaves you alone if you pay the rent on time is worth its weight in gold. If you find this, think twice before moving to save a couple of bucks.

The 100 Best Places to Live in the Midwest

LOOK: Here are the best lake towns to live in

Many of the included towns jump out at the casual observer as popular summer-rental spots--the Ozarks' Branson, Missouri, or Arizona's Lake Havasu--it might surprise you to dive deeper into some quality-of-life offerings beyond the beach and vacation homes. You'll likely pick up some knowledge from a wide range of Americana: one of the last remaining 1950s-style drive-ins in the Midwest; a Florida town that started as a Civil War veteran retirement area; an island boasting some of the country's top public schools and wealth-earners right in the middle of a lake between Seattle and Bellevue; and even a California town containing much more than Johnny Cash's prison blues.

Gallery Credit: Peter Richman

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