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Examining the Most Popular Cities for Renters

Which cities are seeing the most listing activity and attracting the most attention from apartment hunters? A new RentCafe report revealed which cities are the most desirable for renters, as home prices and mortgage rates remain elevated.

Renting is the new buying as home prices are still high and November marks a slower, steadier pace in the rental market.

Minneapolis is November’s most sought-after city by renters looking for apartments on RentCafe.com. Listings in this Midwestern city attracted the highest website engagement, pushing the city up three spots from last month. Similarly, Atlanta climbed three positions to the second spot after ranking in the top 10 throughout the high season for renting. November’s bronze medal goes to Detroit, as renters assiduously looked up apartments in the city.

Cincinnati comes fourth, reinforcing the Midwest’s appeal to renters, while Denver rounds out this month’s top five after managing to climb 12 spots since last month. Apartment listings in these cities saw the most engagement due to high rates of rental properties saved to favorites, personalized searches, scarce unit availability and overall high listing views.

Renters’ preferences for a particular region resulted in a more balanced outlook in November. The Midwest, West and South each claimed nine entries in the top 30, while the Northeast took the remaining three. 

However, the Midwest has the most cities concentrated at the top of our list with Minneapolis at #1. Detroit also marked a significant milestone, ranking third after climbing 25 positions in the last month. This month, apartment hunters searched intensely for rentals in Western cities like Denver (#5) and Portland, OR (#9), but also in Colorado Springs, CO (#7)—this month’s highest ranking new entry.

Sunnier destinations like California’s Riverside and Sacramento attracted more engagements from renters this month, replacing large urban hubs like Chicago and Philadelphia—veterans of our monthly reports—in the top 30.

Minneapolis is the most popular city for renters in November.

Minneapolis is the most in-demand city for renters in November after six months in our top 10. Apartment hunters searched and saved more listings in the city, pushing Minneapolis from the fourth to the top spot in one month. In addition to locals looking to move, Minneapolis also attracted interest from renters in Chicago, Dallas and St. Paul, MN.

In November, traffic for Minneapolis apartment listings increased by 150% compared to this time last year, helping the city climb to the top spot in our ranking. Plus, renters saved 162% more personalized searches on RentCafe.com than one year ago, solidifying Minneapolis’ popularity among apartment hunters.

No. 2: Atlanta

Similarly, Atlanta moved up three spots and came in second this month, its best performance in the last seven months. Overall high traffic for Atlanta listings helped the city rank high and stay in the top 10 most in-demand cities for renters throughout the peak rental season.

Renters have been intensely searching for apartments for rent in Atlanta, one of the South’s most dynamic tech hubs. Apart from locals looking for a new rental, out-of-state apartment hunters have also typed in the city’s name on RentCafe.com. Most of them come from New York City, Chicago and Orlando, FL.

No. 3: Detroit

In November, Motor City came in third after managing to climb an impressive 25 spots. Detroit’s popularity confirms the Midwest’s appeal to renters even now, as we are transitioning away from the high season for renting. In addition to apartment hunters already living in the city, renters from Ashburn, VA; Grand Rapids, MI; and New York City were also browsing apartment listings in Detroit on RentCafe.com.

Midwest cities take the lead, but Southern locations make strides.

In November, the Midwest, South and West each claim nine cities in our top 30, with the remaining three all located in the Northeast. However, Midwestern locations are the most popular, with four entries among the top 10 most sought-after cities by renters, including leader Minneapolis, fast climber Detroit (#3) and chart veteran Cincinnati (#4).

Other desirable rental destinations in the Midwest that made our November top 30 are Kansas City, MO (#10); Indianapolis, which climbed 18 spots to #12 due to a 54% year-over-year rise in listings traffic and a 13% drop in available apartments on RentCafe.com; Cleveland (#13); Overland Park, KS (#16); Omaha, NE (#22); and new entry Sioux Falls, SD (#24).

Nine Southern cities joined the top 30 compared to October, when only six made the cut. Atlanta remains the highest ranking rental destination in the region, but newcomers Raleigh, NC (#30) and Dallas (#25) made the most significant progress in the last month, climbing 41 and 63 positions, respectively. Apartment hunters’ increased interest in Dallas led to a 40% rise in listings traffic compared to one year ago. At the same time, renters saved 16% more personalized searches for apartments in the city, fueling its rise closer to the top. In fact, all but one of the Southern cities on our list ranked higher than last month.

The West also gained two more locations in our ranking this month, with Denver taking the lead at #5. New entry Colorado Springs (#7) stands out after jumping 61 spots straight to our top 10. Renters also assiduously searched for rental listings in Portland, OR (#9); Peoria, AZ (#20); Aurora, CO (#21); Chandler, AZ (#23); Tacoma, WA (#26); as well as California’s Riverside (#27) and Sacramento (#28)—both new entries in the top 30.

Meet the newcomers: Sunnier destinations in the Sun Belt caught renters’ attention in November

This month, there are nine new entries in our top 30 most sought-after cities by renters, and almost all of them are located in the Sun Belt. However, the highest ranking newcomer is Colorado Springs at #7. After traffic for Colorado Springs listings on RentCafe.com doubled compared to one year ago, the city climbed 61 spots straight to our top 10.

Next is Richmond, VA, at #15, which leaped 29 spots after a 34% uptick in traffic for apartments for rent in the city. Washington, D.C., also managed to climb 20 positions to #18 after increased interest from renters led to a 4% drop in available listings on RentCafe.com. Interestingly, page views for listings in South Dakota’s Sioux Falls (#24) doubled year-over-year. At the same time, renters favorited nearly four times as many apartments in the city and saved 14% more personalized searches, a clear sign of their determination to rent here. The high number of engagements for Sioux Falls listings propelled the city in the top 30 this month.

To read the full report, including more data, charts, and methodology, click here.

About Author: Demetria Lester

Demetria C. Lester is a reporter for DS News and MReport magazines with more than eight years of writing experience. She has served as content coordinator and copy editor for the Los Angeles Daily News and the Orange County Register, in addition to 11 other Southern California publications. A former editor-in-chief at Northlake College and staff writer at her alma mater, the University of Texas at Arlington, she has covered events such as the Byron Nelson and Pac-12 Conferences, progressing into her freelance work with the Dallas Wings and D Magazine. Currently located in Dallas, Texas, Lester is an avid jazz lover and likes to read. She can be reached at [email protected].

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