Is Phoenix a better place to rent than NYC?

New report ranks the Arizona capital as the top city to rent in the country

Jul.July 25, 2018 05:00 PM
Phoenix, Arizona (Credit: iStock)

You might be able to rent a two-bedroom apartment in Detroit for $500. But are you getting the most bang for your buck?

Not according to WalletHub. The personal finance services company’s “Best and Worst Places to Rent in America” report has dubbed Phoenix as its top choice. The report counts the state’s capital and five other cities in its metro area among the top 15 of 182 around the country. The Motor City ranks dead last.

The report takes into account rental affordability, average apartment size, cost of living and a series of quality of life metrics that include the state of the job market and safety. The report suggests that if you’re looking for value, its best to look outside the country’s major metro areas, which have some surprising and not-so-surprising statistics.

New York City is notable for having one of the lowest ratios in the country in terms of price-to-rent vs. price-to-buy, which means it often makes more sense to buy than rent. Unsurprisingly it also has the highest cost of living, tied with Washington, D.C.; San Francisco; and three other cities.

But New York is also expected to see the lowest median rent growth in the next year, along with Newark and Jersey City, New Jersey, and Yonkers, New York. Manhattan saw rents rise for the first time this year in May, driven by activity on the high end of the market.

The six cities where rent is projected to grow most drastically are in California. Five of them are northeast of Los Angeles in the Inland Empire, likely a spillover effect from L.A., where rents are expected to rise to $2,200 by the end of 2018.  Overall, L.A. ranked 88th on the list, which is right in the middle of the pack, but was at the bottom of the list at 172 in terms of affordability.

Miami and nearby Hialeah are tied for the least affordable rents in the country in terms of median income to median rents, just behind Detroit.

Chicago came in just below average, ranking 134th on WalletHub’s list, thanks to a low score for quality of life.

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