Southern US cities dominate rental demand

Rental season peaks with Arlington leading the way, followed closely by Orlando and Cincinnati in the top three.

By Alex Summers

Arlington, Virginia, has taken the spotlight as July’s most desirable US city for renters, experiencing a meteoric rise in popularity by climbing eight spots in the ranking. According to the latest Rental Activity Report from, Arlington’s apartment listings saw the highest engagement in July, attracting renters with personalised searches, scarce unit availability, and a remarkable increase in rental properties saved to favourites and listing views.

Arlington rental
A sign advertising a rental property on the 600 block of S 19th St. in Arlington, Virginia. (Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The Southern and Midwestern markets continue to hold strong, dominating the list of the top 30 in-demand cities for renters. However, the north-east is also gaining traction, with Buffalo and Boston making their way into the ranking.

Orlando is Arlington’s closest competitor, rising to the second spot. With a 31% increase in listing views compared with last year, Orlando showcases its allure as a popular Florida city for renting.

Cincinnati comes in at number three, jumping one position compared with last month’s report. Despite having 4% fewer apartments available, rental listing views in Cincinnati surged by 34% year-on-year, while favourited listings experienced a spike of 92% during the same period.

City rental ranking

The July report also highlights notable movements in other cities. Omaha has rapidly risen to fourth place, following its climb to 11th position last month. Kansas City, which held the top spot for two consecutive months, now ranks fifth but continues to show strong year-on-year growth in rental interest.

The north-eastern area of the Bronx stands out as the sole representative in the top ten from the region, boasting its highest rank this year. Rounding out the top ten is Portland, showcasing a significant increase in favourited listings and rental property viewership.

The Rental Activity Report emphasises the Southern region’s dominance in the rental market, with 11 cities making it into the top 30 ranking. The Midwest follows closely with 10 cities, while the north-east accounts for five cities in the list.

Several cities have made remarkable strides in renter interest, with Philadelphia climbing seven positions to reach 12th place and Chicago and Queens advancing six spots each. The DC metro area continues to be a hotbed for renters, as Washington DC steps up three positions to 13.

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Interestingly, Detroit experienced a substantial drop, falling out of the top 30 to 125, marking the most significant descent on the list. Conversely, Texas makes its mark with Houston securing its first representative, ranking as the most in-demand city in the Lone Star State.

July's report also highlights the arrival of seven new entries, with the majority being located in the south. Cleveland leads the newcomers at 17, while Tacoma returns at 20. The vibrant job market propels Houston as an increasingly desirable destination for renters, and Boston ranks 25th with growing listing views and favourited apartments.

Buffalo, Durham and Shreveport also make their debut in the July rental activity report.

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