Southern U.S. states are best for renters, study finds

Small and midsize cities in Texas and the Carolinas offer apartment renters the biggest bang for their buck, according to a new study. 

Round Rock, Texas, and Raleigh, North Carolina, topped the list of best cities for renters, said apartment website RentCafe. Along with Round Rock and Raleigh, the other cities to make RentCafe’s top 10 were:

  • Conroe, Texas
  • Greenville, South Carolina
  • Orlando, Florida
  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • Charlotte, North Carolina 
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Austin, Texas

Those cities offer the ideal combination of a strong local economy, affordable rent prices, spacious apartments and high quality of life, said RentCafe, which also factored in an area’s cost of living, quality of public schools, daily commute time, median income and other factors.

“What they all have in common is a healthy pace of new apartment construction and a great selection of amenity-rich properties,” the firm said in its report.

The ranking comes as rents continue to soar across the U.S. The price of a one- or two-bedroom apartment jumped nearly 26% nationwide between May 2021 and May 2022, according to Rent.com. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Long Beach, California; and Jersey City, New Jersey; have seen some of the sharpest increases. 

Rental costs have climbed mainly because demand for apartments exceed the number of available units, economists say.

“The number of single-family rental properties listed in early 2022 was well below pre-pandemic levels and still shrinking from one year ago,” Molly Boesel, principal economist at CoreLogic, said earlier this month. 


Florida is the least affordable state to live in

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Rent increases in Orlando and Tampa have contributed to making Florida the least affordable state to live in the U.S. Rent in Tampa now eats up 45% of the typical household’s annual income, and 37% in Orlando. 

The need for affordable housing has become even more crucial this year as households across the U.S. grapple with surging inflation, which is raising the price of gas, food and other necessities. Nearly 30% of U.S. adults in a recent Bankrate survey said they were willing to move out of state if they found more affordable housing.

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