Where Are the Hottest Rental Markets?

Ranking cities with at least 10,000 apartments and populations above 50,000, a new report published by RentCafe ranked 149 cities on cost of living, housing, local economy, and quality of life to find the best cities in which to rent an apartment. 

According to the annual report, Charleston, South Carolina topped the list—for the second year in a row—as the best city to rent using a litany of factors to come to this conclusion. 

While no city had everything—due to the fact that perfection is fleeting—there were a few cities that came close to perfection and ranked high for renters searching for options that better fit their wallets and lifestyles. 

The southern region of the country held 38 of the top 50 positions in RentCafe’s rankings, firmly establishing itself as the best region for renters in 2024. From popular rental hotspots like Atlanta and highly competitive Miami to smaller locales—such as McKinney, Texas; Marietta, Georgia; and Daytona Beach, Florida—the South offers options that cater to nearly every renter’s preference. 

Top 5 best cities for renters to live in 2024

Charleston, South Carolina 

  • For the second year in a row, Charleston is first among the best cities for renters, due to its strong local economy (ranked #2) and affordability (ranked #7). Plus, on top of having a cost of living that’s lower than the national average, the city is teeming with career opportunities from major employers such as Boeing, Benefitfocus, Blackbaud and BoomTown—earning it the nickname of Silicon Harbor. Additionally, Charleston’s thriving tourism industry provides plenty of job opportunities. 
  • The city also excels in quality of life by offering spacious apartments, quality schools and abundant green spaces, making it all the more appealing to renters. Furthermore, young adults can look forward to living in a socially active city, with plenty of fitness centers, cultural events and fairs, as well as museums to keep them busy — clear reasons why Charleston remains the #1 city for renters in 2024. 

Atlanta, Georgia 

  • The second spot on our list is claimed by Atlanta, Georgia’s capital city, which has risen in our ranking since last year. Besides its high scores in local economy and cost of living and housing—ranked #4 and #9, respectively—the City in a Forest has been a recurring presence in our rental activity report, proving itself as a prime renting spot to many apartment seekers. 
  • Living up to its nickname of “Silicon Peach,” Atlanta reflects a career-focused mindset with numerous entrepreneurship opportunities, as well as steady income growth for renters. Job opportunities are also plentiful in Atlanta, supported by major employers like Delta Air Lines, Cox Enterprises, The Home Depot, and UPS. Moreover, with a cost of living below the national average, large apartments (more than half of which are high-end) and plenty of opportunities to get involved in the community, it’s no that wonder the city is such an attractive destination for many renters. 

Sarasota, Florida 

  • Sarasota is third on our list of best cities for renters in 2024 and for good reason: Ranking fifth in cost of living and housing and sixth in local economy, this Florida gem is the perfect spot for renters looking for a city that strikes the perfect work/life balance. 
  • Embodying its motto of “urban amenities meet small-town living,” Sarasota provides renters with a comfortable level of affordability and convenience. This is reflected in its spacious, high-end apartments; gorgeous green spaces; and quality schools. Career opportunities also abound, thanks to the presence of companies such as PGT Innovations, Xfinity and Sun Hydraulics. At the same time, Sarasota’s thriving arts scene ensures that renters will never tire of living in this aptly nicknamed “Paradise.” 

McKinney, Texas 

  • McKinney takes the fourth spot on our list after ranking high in cost of living and housing (#2) and quality of life (#9). This is due to a mix of lower-than-average cost of living, high-end apartments in top locations and quality schools. 
  • With its small-town feel and a strong sense of community, McKinney is an ideal choice for renters who want to escape the bustle of the city without compromising on urban comfort. Boasting a variety of parks, farmers markets and local businesses—all centered around its historic downtown—McKinney is a big draw for both young professionals and students. 

Scottsdale, Arizona 

  • Rounding out the top five best cities for renters in 2024 is Scottsdale which slipped two spots from third place last year. Specifically, the city ranks seventh in local economy and eighth in quality of life, making “The West’s Most Western Town” a promising option for renters who are eager to balance work and leisure. 
  • With major employers such as GoDaddy, Voya Financial and Nationwide Insurance present in the area, Scottsdale appeals particularly to young professionals looking to expand their horizons. And, thanks to its quality schools, ideal climate and lively cultural scene, the city has something to offer almost any renter looking to move here. 

Click here for a full ranking of the top rental markets in the country, graphics, and research methodology. 

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Kyle G. Horst

Kyle G. Horst is a reporter for MortgagePoint. A graduate of the University of Texas at Tyler, he has worked for a number of daily, weekly, and monthly publications in South Dakota and Texas. With more than 10 years of experience in community journalism, he has won a number of state, national, and international awards for his writing and photography including best newspaper design by the Associated Press Managing Editors Group and the international iPhone photographer of the year by the iPhone Photography Awards. He most recently worked as editor of Community Impact Newspaper covering a number of Dallas-Ft. Worth communities on a hyperlocal level. Contact Kyle G. at kyle.horst@thefivestar.com.
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