Bang for Your Buck score: 26.92 The typical property in this community some 30 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles carries a $2,179-a-month rental value, the 11th-highest among America's largest cities. Santa Ana's rental values are also growing at 4.21% a year, or more than twice the U.S. norm. Similarly, the median Santa Ana rental lists for $1.68 a square foot, well above the $1.02 typical nationwide. "Santa Ana is an expensive market for renters," Gudell says. The 329,000-population community also has a 2.76-year break-even period for buying vs. renting. That's below the U.S. median -- bad news for tenants.