Best Cities For Renters 2022

Best U.S. Cities to Rent

No. 1: Plano, Texas

Avg. rent for a 2-bedroom$1,558 a month
Avg. size of a 2-bedroom1,087 sq. feet
% of population within a 10-minute walk to a park75%
Biggest weather/natural disaster risksHeatwaves and tornadoes
City sloganCity of Excellence

Plano serves up relatively spacious apartments, and its affordability makes it an attractive spot to settle in. Plano doesn’t have the cheapest rent—in fact it ranks down at No. 73 out of 100 for low rent. But the city’s high median household income of over $95,000 means that Plano has a low ratio of rent to income (20% of median income would be spent on the average 2-bedroom apartment).

Plano is also a good bet if you’re looking for an apartment with a new or updated kitchen (one-third of rentals have stainless steel appliances) and a gym (90% have them). Notably, you generally won’t pay more for an apartment with a pool or gym in Plano, unlike other cities where such amenities can jack up the rent.

Rates for violent crimes and burglaries are low. As an added bonus, almost all rental units in Plano allow pets. Just be prepared for the Texas heat.

Plano’s score: 844 out of 1,000

No. 2: Omaha, Nebraska

Avg. rent for a 2-bedroom$1,084 a month
Avg. size of a 2-bedroom1,086 sq. feet
% of population within a 10-minute walk to a park81%
Biggest weather/natural disaster risksHeatwaves, tornadoes and winter storms
City sloganWe Don’t Coast

You can find affordable, roomy apartments in Omaha, and perhaps even score a good view of the Missouri River. Average rent for a two-bedroom apartment would require only 22% of the city’s median household income of about $60,000.

Omaha renters have good access to parks and generally decent weather. But don’t expect to find an apartment building with a pool in Omaha, where less than 10% of rental units have a pool amenity. It will also be very hard to find an apartment with a new or updated kitchen.

Aside from seasonal weather issues like tornadoes and snowstorms, Omaha doesn’t generally experience destructive natural disasters.

Omaha’s rate of violent crime is at about the middle of the pack of the largest 100 cities but has a lower burglary rate. Its rate of motor vehicle theft is the highest among our Top 10 cities.

The city is in the process of revitalizing its riverfront, with plans for a large green area for activities and entertainment, including a performance pavilion and interactive water features.

Omaha’s score: 842 out of 1,000

No. 3: Raleigh, North Carolina

Avg. rent for a 2-bedroom$1,273 a month
Avg. size of a 2-bedroom1,066 sq. feet
% of population within a 10-minute walk to a park58%
Biggest weather/natural disaster risksHeatwaves and hurricanes
City nicknameCity of Oaks

With a good spurt of new rentals built since 2017 (an increase of over 11%), Raleigh is a great place to find an apartment filled with amenities and at a good rental price. Apartments come with ample space, on average, and many have pools (42%) and/or gyms (75%).

While you’ll have to battle some hurricanes, you likely won’t have to battle crime: Raleigh has very low rates of violent crime and burglaries.

Raleigh’s median household income of $67,266 can make rent affordable. Average rent for a two-bedroom apartment would consume about 23% of median household income.

Raleigh is the capital of North Carolina and also part of the “Research Triangle” with Chapel Hill and Durham, thanks to many diverse businesses and the three major research universities in the area: Duke University, North Carolina State University and University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

Raleigh’s score: 828 out of 1,000

No. 4: Lincoln, Nebraska

Avg. rent for a 2-bedroom$981 a month
Avg. size of a 2-bedroom1,044 sq. feet
% of population within a 10-minute walk to a park92%
Biggest weather/natural disaster risksHeatwaves and winter storms
City sloganNo official slogan, but The New York Times called it the “steak capital of the world” because of its steakhouses

When you want to get out of your apartment for some fresh air, Lincoln is a good place to do so: 92% residents are within a 10-minute walk to a park. That makes it the best city for park accessibility in our Top 10 best cities for renters.

If you’re staying in and watching it snow, you can warm up inside a roomy apartment that you’re probably getting for a great price: Lincoln has the lowest average rent among our Top 10 best cities for renters and good average apartment square footage.

But it’s not a great place for renters to have pets—only about 64% of rentals allow pets, which is the lowest average on our Top 10 list.

While the state’s award-winning tourism motto is “Nebraska. Honestly, it’s not for everyone,” you can escape monotony in Lincoln at the state fair in August and at the city’s museums, art galleries and symphony performances.

Lincoln is Nebraska’s capital and has a wide variety of business and commerce, spanning regional government offices, agriculture, insurance and more, including correctional facilities. Nonetheless, you’ll find very little violent crime and few burglaries in Lincoln.

Lincoln’s score: 821 out of 1,000

No. 5: Gilbert, Arizona

Avg. rent for a 2-bedroom$1,543 a month
Avg. size of a 2-bedroom1,046 sq. feet
% of population within a 10-minute walk to a park31%
Biggest weather/natural disaster risksHeatwaves and floods
City sloganGilbert: Clean, Safe, Vibrant.

Gilbert has loads of advantages for renters, including ample apartment amenities, new and/or updated kitchens, and pet-friendly buildings. Notably, 94% of rentals have an in-unit washer and dryer—a major plus if you’re tired of hauling your laundry to a basement or a laundromat.

The bounty of apartment amenities is likely attributable to the rental building boom in Gilbert: There’s been a 33% increase in rental units built since 2017, and more are on the way. The average year built for rentals is 2005, which makes Gilbert the home of the newest apartments among our Top 10 list.

The city has plenty of shopping and dinings options.

While Gilbert falls at No. 72 out of 100 for low rent, you can easily make up for a higher rent because of the city’s high median household income of $96,857. Gilbert has the highest median household income outside of California among the largest 100 cities in the U.S., outranked only by Fremont, San Francisco, San Jose and Irvine, California.

The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Gilbert will require only 19% of the median household income in the city, leaving you plenty of money to pay your air conditioning bill.

True to its city motto, “Gilbert: Clean, Safe, Vibrant,” Gilbert also has very low crime.

All of these perks may compensate for the lack of good park-related benefits: Only 31% of Gilbert residents live within a 10-minute walk to a park (the lowest among the 100 cities we analyzed) and only about 3% of the city is parkland. However, you can find 4.5 miles of trails at the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch, an area used for water resource management that includes wildlife habitat preservation and an astronomy observatory.

Gilbert’s score: 820 out of 1,000

No. 6: Atlanta, Georgia

Avg. rent for a 2-bedroom$1,608 a month
Avg. size of a 2-bedroom1,114 sq. feet
% of population within a 10-minute walk to a park72%
Biggest weather/natural disaster risksHeatwaves and tornadoes
City nicknameThe City in the Forest

Atlanta lets you go big: It has the largest average apartment sizes among the 100 large cities in the U.S. It should be easy to find an apartment building with a gym (75% have them) and a new or updated kitchen (34% have stainless steel appliances). You may also be able to snag an apartment with an in-unit washer and dryer (half have this perk).

When you need to escape the four walls of your apartment, you’re probably within a short walk to a park.

But with the second-lowest median household income ($59,948) among the cities in our Top 10 Best Cities for Renters list, you may have to stretch your budget to pay rent. The average two-bedroom rent will eat up 32% of the median household income in Atlanta.

Atlanta’s “City in the Forest” nickname comes from the canopy of foliage that dominates the city landscape. Within the leaves you’ll find theater, arts, culture, an aquarium, a zoo and much more.

Atlanta’s score: 809 out of 1,000

No. 7: Scottsdale, Arizona

Avg. rent for a 2-bedroom$1,698 a month
Avg. size of a 2-bedroom1,083 sq. feet
% of population within a 10-minute walk to a park40%
Biggest weather/natural disaster risksHeatwaves and floods
City sloganThe West’s Most Western Town

Scottsdale is undergoing a rental building boom: New units under construction equal 13% of existing units—one of the highest levels among the largest 100 cities in the U.S. we analyzed.

Scottsdale’s affordability helped push it to the top of our rankings. With the city’s median household income of $88,213, you’d spend only 23% of the median household salary on a typical two-bedroom apartment. And you’ll get good space for your money: Scottsdale has large average apartment sizes.

You’re also likely to score a gym in your building (83% have them) and an in-unit washer and dryer (79% have them). If you have a furry companion, Scottsdale is also a good choice, as 94% of rental units allow pets.

In terms of weather, there’s the Arizona heat, of course. Floods and wildfires can also cause unexpected problems.

Only about 40% of Scottsdale’s residents are within a 10-minute walk to a park, if that’s important to you. Instead, you could visit Old Town Scottsdale, a pedestrian-friendly area of restaurants, shops and art galleries. Scottsdale also has bike and walking trails. When you’re tired of self-propulsion, hop onto a trolley on one of the four trolley routes.

Crime is about average for a city.

Scottsdale’s score: 806 out of 1,000

No. 8: Henderson, Nevada

Avg. rent for a 2-bedroom$1,422 a month
Avg. size of a 2-bedroom1,078 sq. feet
% of population within a 10-minute walk to a park60%
Biggest weather/natural disaster risksHeatwaves and earthquakes
City sloganA Place to Call Home

You may know Henderson as a suburb of Las Vegas. Henderson has its own jackpot of good-sized apartments that have plenty of amenities. A median household income of $74,147 in the city means you’d spend 23% of your salary on rent for the average two-bedroom apartment.

You can probably find an apartment building with a pool to cool off in (51% have them), and you can easily find a rental with perks like a gym (91%) and in-unit washer and dryer (81%). About 31% of rentals have a new or updated kitchen.

Having a pet shouldn’t be an issue, as 91% of units allow pets. Also worth noting is that Henderson has a good number of dogs parks.

When you’re ready for some desert sun, Henderson has an extensive trail system for walking and biking.

Henderson is home to Lake Las Vegas, an artificial lake surrounded by luxury hotels and homes, an inflatable water park and a waterside public golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus.

Unlike other locations in our Top 10 best cities for renters list, you’ll need to be prepared for earthquakes in Henderson. This means having a disaster kit ready and taking precautions in your apartment such as bolting large furniture to walls and having fire extinguishers handy. Nevada has many active faults, and even faults that seem far away, such as those in Death Valley, can rumble Henderson.

Henderson’s score: 795 out of 1,000

No. 9: Virginia Beach, Virginia

Avg. rent for a 2-bedroom$1,295 a month
Avg. size of a 2-bedroom1,025 sq. feet
% of population within a 10-minute walk to a park68%
Biggest weather/natural disaster risksHeatwaves, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes
City mottoLandmarks of Our Nation’s Beginnings

While Virginia Beach’s two-bedroom apartments have the smallest average size among the cities in our Top 10, they’re still relatively roomy, coming in at No. 29 out of 100 cities for size. The location is also a bargain: You’d spend only 20% of your salary on rent for a two-bedroom if you earn the median household income of $76,610.

You can likely find good apartment amenities if you shop around a little. About one-third of units have a pool and two-thirds have gyms and in-unit washers and dryers. It will be harder to find a new or upgraded kitchen: Only about 13% offer stainless steel appliances.

Finding a home for a furry friend shouldn’t be a problem, as 91% of rentals in the city allow pets.

Virginia Beach’s location provides a variety of landscapes, from ocean views to wildlife preserves, and both urban and rural areas. You can hit the city’s beach or the boardwalk—or one of its many hiking trails—when you’re looking for some fresh air.

You’ll have to fight some weather battles in Virginia Beach, including hurricanes and floods. Last year saw a record hurricane season, and Virginia Beach is trying to tackle repeated flooding by widening its beaches in order to protect nearby properties.

Virginia Beach’s score: 788 out of 1,000

No. 10: Charlotte, North Carolina

Avg. rent for a 2-bedroom$1,336 a month
Avg. size of a 2-bedroom1,071 sq. feet
% of population within a 10-minute walk to a park37%
Biggest weather/natural disaster risksHeatwaves and tornadoes
City sloganCharlotte’s Got a Lot

You’ll find a lot of new apartments in Charlotte thanks to construction that has increased the number of rental units 22% since 2017. There are another 7,000+ units currently under construction.

Renting a two-bedroom unit in Charlotte will demand more of your salary than most other spots in our Top 10: You’ll spend about 26% of your salary on rent if you make the city’s median annual household income of $62,817. Still, that makes Charlotte’s affordability better than half of the 100 cities we analyzed.

You’ll get some decent apartment space, as Charlotte ranks at No. 9 out of 100 for average square footage for a two-bedroom rental.

And with the new construction comes a good shot at amenities that can make your apartment more enjoyable. Almost half of apartments have a pool, slightly over 80% have gyms and almost a third will have an updated or new kitchen with stainless steel appliances.

About 94% of rentals allow pets, so having a fur baby shouldn’t be a problem.

Only 6% of Charlotte is parkland, making it one of the lowest among our Top 10 cities for parkland.

A few years ago an opinion piece in The Charlotte Observer pondered the city’s motto, “Charlotte’s Got a Lot.” New mottos proposed included “Where America Comes to Build Apartments” and “Only Hours from Everything!” Still, the CharlottesGotALot.com website will help you find attractions, outdoor fun and nightlife.

Charlotte doesn’t really have weather worries aside from heat and tornadoes. It’s far enough inland that hurricanes generally aren’t a problem to consider—even though Hurricane Hugo in 1989 surprised everyone by coming inland and ravaging the city.

In fact, the city’s weather is so uneventful that one of the mottos proposed in the Charlotte Observer was “See Our TV Forecasters Go Apoplectic About Thunderstorms.”

Charlotte’s score: 784 out of 1,000

The Short List: Best Apartment Perks

 

Apartment feature

 

Best city

Rent for a two-bedroomWichita, Kansas
One-bedroom apartment sizeGilbert, Arizona
Two-bedroom apartment sizeAtlanta, Georgia
Rentals with a poolGilbert, Arizona
Rentals with a gymGilbert, Arizona
In-unit washer and dryerGilbert, Arizona
Pets allowedGilbert, ArizonaPlano, Texas
Weather and natural disastersGreensboro, North Carolina

How Much Do Apartment Amenities Add to Rent?

Having a pool and gym right where you live sounds great, but how much are you willing to pay for the convenience? Nationwide, a pool will add an average of 10% to rent. But in cities such as Plano, Texas, and Henderson, Nevada, a pool doesn’t add to the average one-bedroom rent, according to data from Apartments.com.

The worst city for paying extra for a pool? New York City, with a pool “premium” of 47%. Other cities with high additional rent for pools are Long Beach, California, Milwaukee and Chicago.

Having a gym in the building adds an average of 11% to rent. The highest gym premiums are in Honolulu (50% extra), Detroit (45% extra) and Long Beach, California (31% extra), according to Apartments.com.

Full List: Best Cities for Renters

 

 

 

RankCityForbes Advisor score Out of 1,000 possible points
1Plano, Texas844
2Omaha, Nebraska842
3Raleigh, North Carolina828
4Lincoln, Nebraska821
5Gilbert, Arizona820
6Atlanta, Georgia809
7Scottsdale, Arizona806
8Henderson, Nevada795
9Virginia Beach, Virginia788
10Charlotte, North Carolina784
11Chandler, Arizona783
12Madison, Wisconsin781
13Chesapeake, Virginia778
14Jacksonville, Florida775
15Durham, North Carolina763
16Orlando, Florida763
17Austin, Texas760
18Dallas, Texas760
19Greensboro, North Carolina758
20Fort Worth, Texas757
21Tampa, Florida755
22Irving, Texas750
23Fort Wayne, Indiana746
24Garland, Texas744
25Louisville, Kentucky740
26Nashville, Tennessee737
27Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania736
28Columbus, Ohio734
29Kansas City, Missouri733
30Lexington, Kentucky732
31Houston, Texas730
32St. Paul, Minnesota730
33Las Vegas, Nevada729
34Irvine, California727
35Tulsa, Oklahoma727
36New Orleans, Louisiana722
37North Las Vegas, Nevada719
38Indianapolis, Indiana718
39St. Petersburg, Florida708
40Winston-Salem, North Carolina708
41Arlington, Texas704
42Cincinnati, Ohio704
43Laredo, Texas704
44Wichita, Kansas704
45Oklahoma City, Oklahoma702
46Milwaukee, Wisconsin700
47Minneapolis, Minnesota700
48Aurora, Colorado695
49San Antonio, Texas693
50Norfolk, Virginia691
51El Paso, Texas690
52Baltimore, Maryland689
53Denver, Colorado688
54Cleveland, Ohio687
55Lubbock, Texas686
56Boise, Idaho685
57Baton Rouge, Louisiana681
58Phoenix, Arizona681
59Buffalo, New York678
60Detroit, Michigan678
61Colorado Springs, Colorado676
62Toledo, Ohio674
63Richmond, Virginia668
64Philadelphia, Pennsylvania666
65Reno, Nevada666
66Spokane, Washington666
67Mesa, Arizona663
68Portland, Oregon659
69Glendale, Arizona658
70St. Louis, Missouri658
71Corpus Christi, Texas657
72Sacramento, California655
73Memphis, Tennessee654
74Washington, District Of Columbia653
75Tucson, Arizona651
76Anaheim, California647
77Fresno, California645
78San Jose, California644
79Miami, Florida642
80San Diego, California642
81Albuquerque, New Mexico641
82Hialeah, Florida633
83Santa Ana, California632
84Riverside, California631
85Jersey City, New Jersey627
86Fremont, California626
87Seattle, Washington622
88Chula Vista, California621
89Bakersfield, California620
90Newark, New Jersey616
91Chicago, Illinois606
92Long Beach, California601
93Anchorage, Alaska594
94Los Angeles, California593
95Boston, Massachusetts552
96San Francisco, California552
97Stockton, California552
98Oakland, California547
99New York, New York468
100Honolulu, Hawaii430

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