Trulia recently did a study on the affordability of homes across the US and whether it is more affordable to buy vs. rent homes. Trulia examined the cost of renting vs. buying in 50 of the largest cities. They took rent data including the rent price and compared it to the list price of homes as well as what those specific mortgages would be. They then put this data into a rent vs. buy index and graphical chart that can be found here: http://insights.truliablog.com/vis/rent-vs-buy-q3/
See the data on Minneapolis, MN housing below that Trulia.com posted. You will notice that in Minneapolis, the average rent price is $1,050 to $1,550 while you could pay a mortgage and potentially come out the same if you bought a Minneapolis home for sale that ranged from $150k to $250k depending on down payment.