Oklahoma is more than OK in these reasonably priced metros.
Oklahoma is a lot of things, and not a lot of things. It’s in the South, but not genteelly Southern. It sits across the Red River from Texas, but most certainly not Texas. And it’s at the bottom end of the Great Plains but doesn’t have flowing fields of wheat and corn.
Oklahoma is dusty but contemporary. It’s diverse but steeped deep in Indigenous tradition. It’s the NBA, but also Bedlam. And from modern skyscrapers to a long, endless panhandle, it’s an inviting place to live.
Luckily, it’s also an affordable place to live. Rents are low and mostly reasonable. And options are diverse. The state features gleaming cosmopolitan cities, college towns, independent suburbs, close-knit farm communities and much more.
But with such a cheap state to live in, what are the cheapest places to live in Oklahoma? Where can the most affordable rental cities be found?
Average rent prices in Oklahoma
First, let’s take a look at rent prices in Oklahoma as a whole. Overall, the Sooner State is a fairly inexpensive state in which to live.
The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment across the state is $733. That’s a good bargain price for most renters. In fact, all but one of the cheapest places to live in Oklahoma fall below that figure.
Much of the country has seen a significant jump in prices from this time last year. However, Oklahoma remains fairly consistent. That number is up just two and a half percent from a year ago.
The cheapest cities in Oklahoma for renters
There are a number of reasons Oklahomans are looking for cheaper places to live, or assessing the price of where they currently reside. Among all the cities and towns in the Sooner State, what are the most affordable for renters? Below are the 10 cheapest places to live in Oklahoma.
- Average 1-BR rent price: $737
- Average rent change in the past year: +1.38%
Like many below, Sapulpa is an Oklahoma city born as a railroad town and modernized as a stop on old Route 66. Today, it sits as Tulsa’s fourth-largest suburb, with a population of 22,000, fourteen miles from downtown. Sapulpa remains a commuter town, mostly residential with small pockets of service shops and fast-food restaurants. Its primary commercial strip is along the Dewey Avenue corridor, part of Route 66.
As a residential district, Sapulpa has a plethora of parks and green spaces. The town offers over 500 acres of land spread out among two dozen parks and recreation facilities. As well, there are nearly five miles of running and biking trails along five designated park paths around Sapulpa. For water enthusiasts, Sahoma and Pretty Water Lakes cover 300 acres combined. The destination is known for its excellent fishing, with stocks of trout and catfish.
“Oklahoma’s Most Connected City” is also one of the cheapest places to live in Oklahoma. On average, a one-bedroom apartment in the growing suburb leases for $737 a month.
9. Oklahoma City
- Average 1-BR rent price: $711
- Average rent change in the past year: -13.90%
Oklahoma has “plenty of air and plenty of room to swing a rope, plenty of heart and plenty of hope,” according to its eponymous musical. At its heart is its capital and largest city of Oklahoma City, with more than its fair share of that plentiful air and room. At over 600 square miles, O.K.C. is the second-largest city in the continental U.S. by area with a population of more than 100,000 residents.
The city where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain is more than its roots as an oil and cattle town. “Oklahoma City is mighty pretty,” sings Nat King Cole on his hit “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66.” Anyone who has visited O.K.C. can confirm that statement’s validity. It’s a bustling city of vibrant neighborhoods, close-knit communities and big business sectors. More than a fossil fuel hub, Oklahoma City is a leader in tech, healthcare and even sustainable energy.
It’s been a quarter-century since the attack at the Murrah Federal Building and two decades after the Moore tornadoes. The city has taken great strides in rebuilding, as well as revitalizing its city center. Downtown’s Bricktown entertainment district is one of the most vibrant in the Great Plains.
However, rents have remained affordable throughout the city. An average one-bedroom apartment runs $711 a month on average, a 14 percent drop over the last 12 months.
- Average 1-BR rent price: $695
- Average rent change in the past year: +1.30%
Be sure to take note, Tulsa is not some sleepy Midwest oil town. The city, one of the 50-largest in the nation, centers a metro area of over a million residents. It presents as modern, clean and metropolitan, more so than its larger neighbor and state capital to the west. It’s a city of big money, Great Plains skyscrapers and a bustling downtown with its gleaming BOK Center.
Tulsa is a growing tech, healthcare and finance hub, not to mention great for beef lovers. It offers a diverse population, over-40 percent non-white, and a rich history. Its cosmopolitanism has allowed it to become the leading arts, culture and nightlife destination in the Sooner State.
The Tulsa Zoo was voted “America’s Favorite Zoo.” The Linde Oktoberfest is ranked one of the top German celebrations and food festivals in the nation. And don’t forget the barbecue. Tulsa staples RibCrib, Billy Sims Barbecue and Oklahoma Joe’s are shipped across the country.
An affordable locale in the up-and-coming Ozark Plateau region, Tulsa is attractive to renters. The cheapest large city in Oklahoma, one-bedroom rents sit just under $700 on average.
- Average 1-BR rent price: $668
- Average rent change in the past year: +3.88%
Oklahoma State fans will be happy to find out their beloved Cowboy town is one of the cheapest places to live in Oklahoma, while the Boomer Sooners’ Norman failed to rank. One-bedroom apartments in the Frontier Region college town of Stillwater rent for an average of just $668 a month.
Stillwater — equidistant from Oklahoma City, Tulsa and the Kansas border — is a full-fledged Southern Plains small city college town. Washington Irving described it as a “glorious prairie spreading out beneath the golden beams of an autumnal sun.” Activity obviously centers on the university, but Stillwater offers plenty for urban living, as well. The city of 45,000 offers a number of museums, cultural institutions and a legendary music scene. It’s even home to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
But Stillwater is still chock full of college town favorites. World-famous sports bar Eskimo Joe’s is a hub for students, music enthusiasts, ‘Pokes fans and T-shirt-toting tourists. It even was named “Best College Post-Game Hangout,” as well as serving “America’s Greatest Cheese Fries.” The bar sits steps from both 60,000-seat Boone Pickens Stadium and Gallagher-Iba Arena, one of the oldest in the NCAA.
6. Midwest City
- Average 1-BR rent price: $575
- Average rent change in the past year: -12.09%
Most cities at the top of this list are old homestead towns that boomed when the railroad came through. Not Midwest City. O.K.C.’s third-largest suburb, Midwest City only dates back to World War II. The city was created around the then-new Tinker Air Force Base.
Thanks to considerable media attention, it quickly became a national model for community development after the war. A grocery store opened, a hospital, a junior college and a mall soon followed. By 1970, the city that rose out of empty land had nearly 50,000 residents.
Like several of the other cheapest places to live in Oklahoma, the military base is still the focal point of the town. But the heart of residential Midwest City lies in its thriving central business district. The commercial district lies across I-40 from the base. Revitalized at the turn of the century, the city’s main street follows SE 29th Street and centers on bustling Town Center Plaza. The area features big box stores, a walkable row of national chain casual dining and Tinker Bicentennial Park.
For suburban commuters to Oklahoma City or military families, Midwest City remains affordable. A one-bedroom apartment leases for an average of $575 a month. That figure has dropped over 12 percent since this time last year.
- Average 1-BR rent price: $573
- Average rent change in the past year: N/A
Just 30 miles from the Kansas border, Enid is the cheapest place to live in northern Oklahoma. Its proximity to Kansas explains its notoriety as the “Wheat Capital of Oklahoma.” In fact, the small city of 50,000 features the third-largest grain storage capacity in the world. This agricultural skyscraper city of silos is now the Enid Terminal Grain Elevators Historic District.
While Enid is still “where the best wheat grows and the oil flows,” there’s much more to the town life. Downtown Enid is low-slung among wide thoroughfares. That is except for the 14-story Broadway Tower, the tallest building in Enid. The district also features a children’s museum, railroad museum and western museum and Cherokee Strip Heritage Center. Enid even features the oldest symphony orchestra in Oklahoma.
The southern tip of town is occupied by the large Vance Air Force Base. With such a large military facility, affordable rental housing is important. An average one-bedroom apartment leases for just $573 a month.
- Average 1-BR rent price: $558
- Average rent change in the past year: -7.95%
At just $558 a month for an average one-bedroom, Lawton is the cheapest city to live in southwestern Oklahoma. Significantly, rents in the Frontier Region city have dropped nearly eight percent from this time last year. With nearly 100,000 residents, it’s the fifth-largest city in the Sooner State.
Lawton’s primary landmark and largest employer is Fort Sill. The massive base on the north end of town is one of just four Army Basic Combat Training facilities in the U.S. While growth can be attributed to the base, the city has diversified into manufacturing, higher education and health care industries.
Unlike many cities, the focal point of Lawton’s downtown isn’t the main street or a town square. It’s the nearly 50-year-old Central Mall, an enclosed shopping mall smack in the middle of downtown. When built, city officials thought the mall would attract shoppers from surrounding suburbs. Today, renewal efforts are focusing on building more appealing and pedestrian-friendly blocks north of the mall.
Some of those revitalization efforts are centered on the area around Elmer Thomas Park. Here lie two of Lawton’s largest museums. The Museum of the Great Plains and Comanche National Museum and Cultural Center sit side-by-side adjacent to the park. The park is the city’s largest, but just one of 80 parks and recreation areas operated by the city.
3. Pauls Valley
- Average 1-BR rent price: $554
- Average rent change in the past year: +1.84%
Deep into the Chickasaw Nation is the small Interstate city of Pauls Valley. Grammar nerds take note, there is no apostrophe in “Pauls,” though named for original settler Smith Paul. The lack of punctuation can be attributed to a singular tradesman. In 1887, a painter hired by the railroad to hang the Santa Fe Railway station sign failed to add the possessive apostrophe and the name stuck.
Pauls Valley’s quaint downtown lies at the northeastern corner of the city. The district radiates out from the easement of the town’s historic railroad line. In its heart is the old Santa Fe Railway Lone Star depot. Closed in the ’70s, the century-old depot now houses the historical society museum. However, right next door is the active Pauls Valley Amtrak station on the Heartland Flyer train line. Despite the city’s diminutive size, it’s one of just five Amtrak passenger stations operating in Oklahoma.
Elsewhere, downtown features pizza places, diners, service centers and community shops along Grant Avenue and Chickasaw Street. It’s also home to the award-winning Toy and Action Figure Museum. In the city’s western portion, numerous hotels and truck stops lie at the exit to Interstate 35.
The largest city and county seat of Garvin County, Pauls Valley has a population of only 6,000. The city is quaint and also cheap. To live here will cost you $554 a month on average for a one-bedroom unit. That figure is just $2 more than the city ranked No. 1.
- Average 1-BR rent price: $553
- Average rent change in the past year: N/A
Ada is a small but bright town in south-central Oklahoma. It’s the county seat and largest city in Pontotoc County, but with a population of just 17,000. It’s the second cheapest place to live in Oklahoma. At $553 monthly, the average cost of a one-bedroom is just a buck more than the number one city. Oh, so close.
Ada is best known as the headquarters of the surrounding Chickasaw Nation, which encompasses 7,700 square miles of southern Oklahoma. While Ada itself is nearly three-quarters white, a significant 15 percent of all residents are of Native American descent. Around 2,500 Ada residents speak Chikashshanompa’, the Chickasaw language. As such, much of the public signage, including many traffic and directional markers, is written bilingually.
Most commercial activity in Ada centers on the downtown area along Main Street and Mississippi Avenue. Native American shops and eateries mingle with fast-casual restaurants, outdoor outfitters, beer bars and locally owned boutiques. Off the east edge of downtown is the spacious campus of East Central University.
- Average 1-BR rent price: $552
- Average rent change in the past year: +0.41%
On the eastern edge of the Oklahoma City metro is the satellite city of Shawnee. It’s convenient, modern and accessible. And this suburb of 31,000 tops the list of the cheapest place to live in Oklahoma. An average one-bedroom apartment runs just $552 a month.
Only 45 minutes from downtown OKC, Shawnee is a convenient commute into the city. But Shawnee maintains distinct independence. Its bustling Main Street sits alongside its historic railroad right-of-way. This design dates back to the city’s founding, eschewing a town square for a primary business thoroughfare. The district offers a number of coffee shops, comfortable bars and casual dining spots.
But Shawnee’s most famous restaurant was located a couple of miles north on North Harrison Street. That was the spot of the original Sonic Drive-In. Then known as Top Hat Drive-In, the original site was moved in 2017 to the corner of Harrison and Highland streets.
Located downtown is the brand new Pottawatomie County Museum of railroad and transportation history. The new building opened at the start of 2021 as the collection outgrew its old home. That original site was located in the adjacent historic, castle-like Santa Fe Depot. Shawnee is also home to the Heart of Oklahoma Exhibition Center that features both indoor and outdoor performance arenas. And on the north end of town is the Black Hawk Casino. The vibrant gaming center is operated by the Sac and Fox Nation.
The most expensive places to live in Oklahoma
There are plenty of options to finding the cheapest places to live in Oklahoma, and which is right for you. But the Sooner State isn’t all about affordability. There are plenty of pricier places to lay your head at night.
The five most expensive places to live in Oklahoma are primarily large suburban edge cities. In fact, both Oklahoma City and Tulsa’s largest suburbs — Moore and Broken Arrow, respectively — are among the most expensive. Nearly all have also seen large jumps in rent prices for an average one-bedroom from this time last year.
Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.’s multifamily rental property inventory as of August 2021. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
We excluded cities with insufficient inventory from this report.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.