New US rental report sees Atlanta take top spot

Which other cities are experiencing the highest number of listings and capturing the greatest interest from individuals searching for apartments?

By Alex Summers

Atlanta has emerged as the most popular city among renters, with Kansas City and Albuquerque following close behind, according to a new report from RentCafe. These US cities have witnessed maximum engagement in terms of high views of rental listings, saving properties as favourites, limited availability of units, and customised searches, while examining the best cities to rent.

best cities to rent - atlanta
Apartments in midtown Atlanta – the city has topped a new report on rental activity in the US. (Photo by Michael Moloney/Shutterstock)

A notable addition to the list is Detroit, which has secured the fourth position, indicating a positive trend in its resurgence and development. Manhattan continues to retain its place as one of the preferred cities among renters, despite its high cost of living, taking the fifth spot.

These top-ranked cities possess a blend of affordability, employment prospects, and entertainment choices, making them attractive to renters, the report claims.

The best cities for rent activity in the US

RentCafe analysed rental listing data for the 150 largest cities by population in the contiguous US. It ranked the cities based on their rental activity score at the city level. The highest score for a particular metric received full points, while the zero-point level was set slightly below the lowest value recorded among cities.

To calculate each city's score, the team considered four metrics and their averages for the current month in 2023 compared with the same month in 2022.

The top ten cities for renters were as follows:

  1. Atlanta – Listings in Atlanta received high traffic and saved searches, and renters added twice as many listings to their favourites compared with the same time last year. The city has many job opportunities and is known as one of the top tech towns, making it attractive to renters.
  2. Kansas City – Kansas City ranks second in the most sought-after cities for renting, having climbed 27 places from previous rankings. The city's listings received high engagement, with renters marking them as favourites six times more than the previous year, and the number of page views for listings is one of the highest in the US. Renters in Kansas City also saved significantly more personalised searches and appreciate the affordable housing, cost of living, and new tech job opportunities available in the area.
  3. Albuquerque – Albuquerque is the third most in-demand city for renting, with a significant increase in rental listings being added to favourites and viewed. The city climbed 19 positions in the top 30 rankings in just one month, thanks to its outdoor activities and entertainment industry, among other reasons.
  4. Detroit – Detroit had the biggest jump, climbing 84 spots to fourth place. The city saw an increase in personalised searches and favoured apartments, as well as a rise in traffic on listing pages. Detroit's construction projects, small business growth, and lifestyle revival make it an attractive option for renters.
  5. New York (Manhattan) – Manhattan rounds up the top five most desired cities for renting, with a high volume of searches. The borough saw a quick rise in apartments being saved to favourites, and its desirability is confirmed by a drop in available listings and an increase in personalised searches. Manhattan's appeal is due to the return to the office, with employees moving back to the area.
  6. Denver – Denver is the sixth most sought-after city for renters in April. The city's appeal stems from its thriving job market and outdoor activities. Renters showed high engagement by favouriting five times more listings and saving 54% more personalised searches compared with last year.
  7. Arlington – The city's appeal is due to its location, job opportunities, and high income. Renters added twice as many Arlington apartments to their favourites compared with last year, and saved 63% more personalised searches.
  8. Memphis – Memphis has become the eighth most popular city for renters due to an increase in the number of apartments being favoured by renters and views of listings rising by 30% year-over-year. The city's diverse art scene, the balanced pace of life, and the affordable cost of living may contribute to its desirability.
  9. Orlando – Orlando has made it to the top ten list of most in-demand renting locations. It is a popular place for apartment hunters due to its affordable living options, job opportunities and leisure activities. The number of favourited listings has almost tripled compared with last year, and personalised saved searches for apartments in the city have increased by 19%.
  10. Durham – The city is known for its growing tech job opportunities, authenticity and good food. The number of favourited apartments in Durham increased eight times compared with a year ago, and renters saved 56% more personalised searches for apartments.

The north-east region has five cities in the top 30 with the highest rental activity. Philadelphia is in the 13th position with five times more rentals added to the favourites lists and twice the personalised searches. Boston ranks 19th with tripled favourites and a 6% increase in views. Washington DC ranks 26th with 17% fewer listings and a 160% increase in favourited listings. Arlington ranks seventh with double the number of favourited apartments and a 63% increase in saved personalised searches. Chicago ranks 16th with quadrupled favourites and a 10% drop in availability.

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[Read more: New report highlights best US suburbs for city-like livability]

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