How to fix high rent in Cities Skylines 2

Cities Skylines 2 high rent
(Image credit: Paradox Interactive)

If you have a Cities Skylines 2 high rent problem, you’re not the only one; many fast-growing towns experience this issue, with either residential, commercial, or industrial rent becoming too high to afford. Luckily, if your city is suffering from high rent, there are ways to fix it and smooth over any Cities Skylines 2 money issues. 

From creating affordable housing to providing better education, here’s how to fix high rent issues in Cities Skylines 2. And if you need help more generally these Cities Skylines 2 tips should help with plenty of things.

The Cities Skylines 2 high rent problem explained

Cities Skylines 2 high rent explained

(Image credit: Paradox Interactive)

The Cities Skylines 2 high rent warning often appears in small but rapidly expanding towns. You can recognize the warning by its icon: a blue house with a red banknote in front. If you hover over this little icon, you’ll see the “high rent” message on your screen.

As you would expect, the high rent pop-up means that the people living or working in that area have trouble paying their rent. This may occur in any type of zone, from residential to industrial. However, it’s usually not a reason for panic, as it takes a very long time for high rent issues to result in building abandonment. Still, if you want to keep your citizens happy and their businesses profitable, it’s important to fix the issue.

The cause of your Cities Skylines 2 high rent issue

Cities Skylines 2 high rent causes

(Image credit: Paradox Interactive)

Before solving your Cities Skylines 2 high rent troubles, let’s identify the cause of the problem, as there may be different reasons why the rent has gone up. Here’s an overview of potential reasons why your citizens are struggling with their rent: 

  • Poverty. The most common cause for the high rent issue is a lack of jobs or jobs that pay well. Check the “citizen wealth” and “workplace availability” info views to see if this may be the case for your town. 
  • A lack of space. Even if your citizens are doing well financially, if there’s a high demand for residential, commercial, or industrial zones in your city, it may drive up the rent. Check the zoning demand in the bottom left corner of the screen.
  • Land value has increased too steeply. This may be due to an abundance of public services and recreational areas, but if the land value increases, so will the rent. Even with decent jobs, people living and working in a high-value area may not be able to keep up. Check the land value info view to find out if that’s the case.

How to fix high rent in Cities Skylines 2

Cities Skylines 2 high rent solutions

(Image credit: Paradox Interactive)

Now that you’ve identified the issue, let’s go over the various ways to fix high rent in Cities Skylines 2:

  • Provide higher education for your citizens (fix poverty). This will mostly help with the high rent in residential zones. In Cities Skylines 2, jobs for highly educated workers pay better wages, so if you want to increase your citizens’ income and thus their ability to pay the rent, investing in colleges and universities is a good way to do so.  
  • Provide jobs (fix poverty). This goes hand-in-hand with the previous tip on how to fix the high rent problem in Cities Skylines 2; you must provide plenty of jobs for your citizens, or they won’t have any use for their degrees. Try to build nearby commercial and office zones, and give them good access to large industrial zones. 
  • Satisfy the demand for zones (fix the lack of space). No matter whether it’s a demand for residential, commercial, industrial, or office zones, if there’s a shortage, the cost of renting in the existing zones will increase. The solution is to keep expanding your city; buy new blocks with plenty of space – the rent in new areas won’t be very high. 
  • Create more high-density zones (fix the lack of space). Upgrade your low-density zones to high-density ones, as large plots of land will become too valuable to be used for single homes and businesses over time. 
  • Decrease land value (fix high land value). By removing services and recreational spaces, you can decrease land value and thus decrease rent. 
  • Move industrial zones to cheap areas (fix high land value). The easiest high rent fix for industrial zones is to move the zone further away from the city center. As your city expands, the “attractive” part of your city may come too close to the original industrial zone, thus involuntarily increasing its land value. 
  • Bulldoze and rebuild. Not the ideal way to fix high rent in Cities Skylines 2, but you can always bulldoze a high-rent building (sorry, owners) and let someone else rebuild something of the same type. With any luck, the new occupants won’t have trouble paying their rent. 

Beware that lowering taxes doesn’t seem to fix high rent. Although this may seem to be the obvious solution, as lowering taxes would leave your citizens with more money to spend on rent, it may actually increase the demand for housing in your city and thus create the opposite effect. 

Likewise, building low-rent housing seems to be another obvious solution, but sadly, there’s often no demand for low-rent housing even if half your city suffers from high rent (although this could be a bug). Replacing a residential area with low-rent housing is thus not a great fix – but you can still try upgrading to high-density housing as suggested above. 

Cities Skylines 2 high rent bug

Like other common issues in Cities Skylines 2, some players are wondering if the high rent problem is bugged. As cities with wealthy citizens and plenty of available housing and jobs still seem to struggle with high rent, this could indeed be the case. Even if a future patch decreases the frequency of the high rent message in Cities Skylines 2, you should still be able to use the suggestions above to solve the issue. 

And that’s how to fix high rent in Cities Skylines 2. Time to get the zoning tool – or the bulldozer.

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Marloes Valentina Stella

I’m a freelance journalist who (surprise!) kind of has a thing for videogames. When I’m not working on guides for GamesRadar, you can probably find me somewhere in Teyvat, Novigrad, or Whiterun. Unless I’m feeling competitive, in which case you should try Erangel. You can also find my words on PCGamesN, Fanbyte, PCGamer, Polygon, Esports Insider, and Game Rant.