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Zillow ranks Nashville and Raleigh as most attractive cities for renters

By Mike Wheatley | November 1, 2016

Among large cities, Nashville, Tenn. renters are most likely to be moving there from another city, and San Jose, Calif. renters are most likely to be planning to leave, according to a new Zillow analysis.


Zillow used data from Renter Profiles filled out by renters as they prepared to move to determine which cities are attracting outsiders.

Affordable cities like Nashville, Raleigh and Austin, which have strong economies and vibrant cultures are most attractive to renters from other parts of the country, while tech markets like San Francisco and San Jose have a high-churn rate with people frequently looking to move in and out. Markets with a higher percentage of renters looking to move out include Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Virginia Beach, and often are characterized by slower job growth and a higher than average population of students or military families.

As a general rule, markets attracting people from elsewhere in the country will experience rising rents, while markets that have a higher percentage of renters looking to leave show slower rent growth.

"An influx of people moving to new cities is among the drivers affecting demand and therefore affordability in many of today's housing markets," said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. "Rising rents become even more pronounced in booming markets like Nashville, Portland and Denver, not only because so many people want to move in, but also because so few people want to move away.  There aren't enough rental homes to go around and the rents have nowhere to go but up."

The average renter spends 10.4 weeks search for a home, according to the Zillow Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends. Generally speaking, the higher a renter's income, the faster they tend to find a home. Renters earning over $75,000 secure a place in fewer than 10 weeks on average, while those earning under $25,000 need nearly 12 weeks to find a new rental.

Households willing to undertake long-distance moves –– tend to have higher incomes households moving within a metro. The income gap between newcomers looking to move in and current renters is largest in San Francisco ($23,000), San Jose ($20,600), Washington, DC ($19,200), Baltimore ($18,000), and New York ($18,000). The income gap was smallest in Nashville ($4,900), Providence ($6,000), Atlanta ($6,100), Salt Lake City ($7,500) and Orlando ($9,000).

In San Jose and San Francisco, where housing affordability has deteriorated to crisis levels, renters seeking to move away have smaller or equal incomes to those seeking a new rental within the region. Los Angeles, New York, Boston and Seattle are not far behind, with renters seeking to leave the region reporting only slightly higher incomes than renters seeking to move within the region.

Renters can use Zillow's Renter Profile to create a personal profile outlining their qualifications such as income, credit score, and employment references. Renters create the profile just once, and can share it quickly and easily with landlords and property managers.

Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at [email protected].
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