Thinking about making a move?
If you’re renting, the main factor you’re likely considering is how much rent will cost in your new town or city. But, in addition, renters also want the same things everyone wants: a great neighborhood, a thriving local economy, good schools and an easy commute to work.
In its newly released annual survey, RentCafe studied these pertinent issues for renters in almost 140 cities. Considering their 20 most common concerns, the site collected data like average apartment cost, the number of applicants per vacant unit, the average income among renters and quality of life issues like air pollution rates. Then, they ranked the top 50 cities for renters.
One interesting takeaway: They found that the southern half of the country offered renters some of the best opportunities. In fact, out of the 10 best cities on the list, all were either in the South or the Southwest.
And, beyond the RentCafe study, some more good news if you’re thinking about relocating: Last month, the average price to rent a studio to two-bedroom property was 0.5% less than it was this time a year ago, according to Realtor.com’s latest numbers. This drop in prices might encourage renters who’ve hunkered down during the pandemic to finally move somewhere else they’ve been hoping to live, the site points out.
If that’s you, you may want to consider RentCafe’s top 10 best cities for renters in 2023 — check them out below.
10. Arlington, Virginia
It’s easy to see why Arlington made the top 10. Though it’s one of the pricier cities on this list, there are many jobs to be had here — including at major companies like Boeing, Deloitte and Amazon HQ2. In fact, Arlington’s thriving local economy ranks at number three on RentCafe’s list. Plus, with plenty of parks and great schools, its quality of life ranking is number four. And residents are also just a 15-minute drive to Washington, D.C.
9. Conroe, Texas
While Conroe is the smallest town in RentCafe’s upper 10, it’s also the most affordable place to rent — ranking number one for housing and cost of living. An hour’s drive from Houston, it has a small-town vibe with above-average schools and good air quality. And since Conroe is an oil-producing area, there’s good job growth for workers in the oil and gas industry.
8. Charlotte, North Carolina
What helped Charlotte secure such a high spot on the list? Its job market. With its mix of traditional Fortune 500 companies and fresh startups in the financial sector, Charlotte ranked number 15 in the “local economy” category of RentCafe’s data. But it also ranked number four in housing and cost of living. For a large city, it has plenty of days with good air quality (74.8%), a large share of high-end apartments (69.4%) and a median apartment size (945 square feet) that’s higher than the national average.
7. Austin, Texas
Sitting at lucky spot number seven, Austin is one city that doesn’t need a cheerleader. It’s commonly praised for its cultural attractions, live music, Tex-Mex cuisine, warm weather and a strong economy. But Austin is also one of the best places in the country to rent a property. It has a good share of high-end apartments (64.6%), and it ranks number 10 on RentCafe’s list for housing and low cost of living.
6. Round Rock, Texas
How did a small city like Round Rock, Texas arrive on the list at number six? This fast-growing area stands out for its low cost of living, plentiful tech jobs and lots of public parks and other amenities. In fact, this year Bankrate.com named Round Rock its No. 1 place to live in America. Round Rock is home to Dell Technologies, Switch and Emerson, and 84% of the city’s residents are less than a 10-minute walk from a public park. Plus, in the RentCafe survey, it ranked number two for housing and cost of living. And it’s just 15 miles from Austin.
5. Raleigh, North Carolina
It’s really not surprising that Raleigh made the top five. First of all, it’s one of the key angles of North Carolina’s Research Triangle. (That’s the metro area with three major research universities — NC State in Raleigh, Duke in Durham and UNC-Chapel Hill.) So, good jobs are plentiful. And this city is an exceptional place to rent because of the low cost of living, thriving local economy and a large number of high-end rental properties.
4. Atlanta, Georgia
Georgia’s capital is a relatively big city with just under 500,000 residents and lots of big companies headquartered here. Beyond name brand corporations like Coca-Cola, Delta and The Home Depot, Atlanta’s also home to a growing number of tech companies. As of last year, the city ranked number 11 in CBRE’s 2022 Scoring Tech Talent report. So, this city scored well for its job growth and its local economy. But it also offers large apartments (average size: 974 square feet) for an affordable price and a relatively low cost of living.
3. Scottsdale, Arizona
This city is known for its luxury vacation resorts and top-notch golf courses, but it’s also a terrific place to rent a property. In this survey, it scored the top ranking for public schools and ranked number three overall for quality of life. The average apartment here is 942 square feet, which is larger than the national average. It also has a huge share of high-end apartments (81.3%).
2. Plano, Texas
Twenty miles north of Dallas, this suburban-feeling city is growing like crazy. But why is it practically topping the list of best places to rent? That’s thanks in part to all the companies that have headquarters here, including Pepsi, Hewlett-Packard, FEDEX, Bank of America and JC Penney. Along with ranking at number two on the list for local economy, Plano ranks number six for quality of life, with great schools and good air quality.
1. Charleston, South Carolina
This South Carolina port city caps the list for several reasons, starting with high-quality apartments that average about 967 square feet (which is larger than the national average). With about 250 tech companies in the area, the preponderance of tech jobs gave it a high “local economy” score, too — and that’s in a city with a good cost of living, anyway. And while Charleston is a bustling city with plenty to do, it also has lots of outdoor amenities and plenty of days with good air quality.
Would you like to see who else made the list? Here’s RentCafe’s map showing the location of the 50 best cities for renters: