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Five of the top 10 cities are small, including No. 1 Round Rock, Texas, near Austin.
An Austin, Texas, suburb is this year’s best place for renters in the United States, according to a report from RentCafe, an apartment-listing service.
The 10 cities topping the list are: Round Rock, Texas; Raleigh, North Carolina; Conroe, Texas; Greenville, South Carolina; Orlando, Florida; Jacksonville, Florida; Charlotte, North Carolina; Charleston, South Carolina; Atlanta; and Austin.
Small cities dominated the top five best cities for renters, with all but Raliegh having fewer than 300,000 residents, the report said.
Round Rock, Texas. Fifteen miles north of Austin, Round Rock offers a balance of urban amenities and suburban perks, according to RentCafe. Dubbed the “sports capital of Texas,” Round Rock is home to several parks and outdoor areas. Out of more than 100 cities included in the study, Round Rock ranked 10th in terms of local economy, 12th for quality of life, and 13th in cost of living. Two-thirds of the city’s apartments are considered high end, with amenities and finishes that appeal to modern renters, the report said.
Raleigh, North Carolina. With a thriving job market and many apartments located in top neighborhoods, Raleigh ranks highly in terms of quality of life, the report said. Last year, it was among the top 20 U.S. cities with the most new construction with approximately 4,800 new units built.
Conroe, Texas. A small city 40 miles north of Houston, Conroe ranks highly for its low cost of living and housing. But that’s not to say the rentals leave much to be desired–70% of the apartments in Conroe are considered “high end,” and the city has a variety of outdoor spaces that appeal to nature lovers.
Greenville, South Carolina. Of the cities analyzed for the report, Greenville ranked near the top in terms of low unemployment. (Only Arlington, Virginia, and Madison, Wisconsin, ranked higher.) That is in part because of the many health services, technology and automotive-industry companies that are located in Greenville. The city also ranked second in terms of cost of living.
Orlando, Florida. With sublime weather, a strong apartment market, and plenty of activities and entertainment, Orlando rounds out the top five cities for renters. Home to Disney World and other major attractions, Orlando ranked highly in terms of local economy and has an urban-suburban feel, the report said.
Best and Worst by Category
When looking at specific categories like cost of living, economy and quality of life, here’s how cities stack up:
- Savannah, Georgia, ranked highest in terms of cost of living and housing. Brooklyn, New York, ranked lowest.
- Plano, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, ranked highest in terms of local economy, based on metrics including job growth, median renter income and unemployment. Dayton, Ohio, ranked lowest.
- San Francisco offers the highest quality of life based on metrics including school quality, air quality and share of car users. Indianapolis ranked last.
A Shortage of Rentals
It’s a particularly difficult time for renters, as recent research shows that the United States needs 3.5 million new units by 2035 to keep up with demand. Today, there is a shortage of 600,000 units.
While some factors contributing to the shortage–such as supply-chain disruptions and material shortages–are beyond municipal leaders’ control, there are still steps cities can take to address housing difficulties in their communities. These include adjusting zoning regulations and the permitting process.
For the RentCafe report, researchers used 17 metrics in their data analysis, including affordability, quality of apartments and neighborhoods, opportunities for job growth and air quality.
To read the full report, click here.
Molly Bolan is an assistant editor for Route Fifty.