Best US Cities for Renters 2024

What are the best U.S. cities for renters? Charleston, NC, Atlanta, GA, Sarasota, FL, McKinney, TX and Scottsdale, AZ lead the pack, according to a recent RentCafe report.

Charleston Waterfront Park, SC
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The current housing market has many people choosing to rent. While no city has everything, quite a few come close and rank high for renters searching for options that better fit their budget and lifestyle. This year, Charleston, SC, stole the show again, followed by Atlanta, GA, Sarasota, FL, and McKinney, TX, according to a new report from RentCafe

Considering that mortgage rates maintained an upward trajectory in June, hitting 6.92% for a 30-year-fixed-rate loan, and the current average price of a home in the U.S. stands at $360,681, according to Zillow, now is a great time to rent. Not to mention that in most of the nation’s largest cities, renting is now far cheaper than buying. 

Here’s a quick look at the top five cities where you can get the most out of your renting experience in 2024.

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1. Charleston, SC

For the second year in a row, Charleston takes the top spot as the best city for renters thanks to a strong local economy and affordability. Charleston also has a lower cost of living than the national average, various career opportunities from leading employers and thriving tourism. The city also offers spacious apartments, green spaces, great schools, museums, fitness centers and cultural events that are attractive to renters.

2. Atlanta, GA

Atlanta claims the second spot in this year's report thanks to a strong local economy and high scores for the overall cost of living and housing. Atlanta also has a career-focused mindset with steady income opportunities for renters with major employers like Delta Air Lines, Cox Enterprises, The Home Depot, and UPS. It has a cost-of-living below the national average, large apartments and plenty of opportunities to get involved in a thriving community. 

3. Sarasota, FL

Sarasota, FL, comes in third on RentCafe’s list of best cities for renters in 2024. Ranking fifth in cost of living and housing and sixth in local economy, Sarasota just may be the perfect spot for renters looking for a city that offers a good work/life balance. The city has spacious, high-end apartments, gorgeous green spaces and quality schools. Thanks to companies such as PGT Innovations, Xfinity and Sun Hydraulics, renters have many career opportunities to choose from, and Sarasota’s thriving arts scene ensures that renters never get bored.

4. McKinney, TX

McKinney, TX, takes the fourth spot, ranking high in cost of living, housing, a higher quality of life, high-end apartments and quality schools. McKinney is an excellent choice for renters who want to escape the hurried pace of a large city without compromising on urban comfort. The city has become a big draw for both young professionals and students.

5. Scottsdale, AZ

Scottsdale, AZ, rounds out the top five best cities for renters in 2024. “The West’s Most Western Town” is a promising option for renters eager to balance work and leisure. It is a picturesque city in the heart of the Sonoran Desert and home to numerous resorts, restaurants and boutiques. The average size for an apartment in Scottsdale, AZ, is 952 square feet, but that can vary greatly from one complex to the next. Studio apartments are the smallest and most affordable options for renters. The list of largest employers is topped by companies in the healthcare and tourism spaces. There are also abundant opportunities for entrepreneurs.

What are the best places in the U.S. for renters to live in 2024?

Based on population, cost-of-living, apartment size, occupancy rate, share of new apartments and high-end apartments, these are the top 25 best places for renters in 2024.

  1. Charleston, NC
  2. Atlanta, GA
  3. Sarasota, FL
  4. McKinney, TX
  5. Scottsdale, AZ
  6. Round Rock, TX
  7. Austin, TX
  8. Chapel Hill, NC
  9. Gilbert, AZ
  10. Miami, FL
  11. Charlotte, NC
  12. Raleigh, NC
  13. Fort Lauderdale, FL
  14. Rochester, MN
  15. Huntsville, AL
  16. Greenville, SC
  17. Plano, TX
  18. Orlando, FL
  19. Wilmington, NC
  20. Durham, NC
  21. Boise, ID
  22. Marietta, GA
  23. Denver, CO
  24. Sioux Falls, SD
  25. Jacksonville, FL

Best cities for renters in the South

With nearly half of the cities in RentCafe’s ranking located in the South, it’s no surprise that renters are flocking to warmer temperatures, a lower-than-average cost of living, spacious apartments and a high share of newly built units in these top ten southern cities.

  1. Charleston, SC; 
  2. Atlanta, GA 
  3. Sarasota, FL
  4. McKinney, TX
  5. Round Rock, TX
  6. Austin, TX
  7. Miami, FL
  8. Chapel Hill, NC
  9. Raleigh, NC
  10. Charlotte, NC

Best cities for renters in the West

Renters looking for cities where they can work hard and keep fit — the best of both worlds in the West, and home to 32 of the 150 spots on RentCafe’s list.  Here’s the top ten.

  1. Seattle, WA
  2. Boise, ID
  3. Reno, NV
  4. Salt Lake City, UT
  5. Westminster, CO
  6. Colorado Springs, CO
  7. Denver, CO
  8. Scottsdale, AZ
  9. Phoenix, AZ
  10. Gilbert, AZ

Best cities for renters in the Northeast

Competition is making it harder for renters to snag an ideal apartment in the Northeast. However, the region stands out with desirable locales such as Stamford, CT, and Boston, which rank high in quality of life. The top ten cities for renters to live in 2024 in the Northeast include:

  1. New Haven, CT
  2. Albany, NY
  3. Pittsburgh, PA
  4. Harrisburg, PA
  5. Philadelphia, PA
  6. Allentown, PA
  7. Stamford, CT
  8. Providence, RI
  9. Buffalo, NY
  10. Boston, MA

Best cities for renters in the Midwest

Meeting the needs of renters with affordable housing, a robust local economy and quality of life, the Midwest claims 27 cities on RentCafe’s list. These cities rank in the top ten.

  1. Saint Paul, MN
  2. Minneapolis, MN
  3. Rochester, MN
  4. Sioux Falls, SD
  5. Madison, WI
  6. Omaha, NE
  7. Lincoln, NE
  8. Ann Arbor, MI
  9. Columbus, OH
  10. Kansas City, MO

For more in-depth, customized data and charts, see the full report from RentCafe here

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Kathryn Pomroy

For the past 18+ years, Kathryn has highlighted the humanity in personal finance by shaping stories that identify the opportunities and obstacles in managing a person's finances. All the same, she’ll jump on other equally important topics if needed. Kathryn graduated with a degree in Journalism and lives in Duluth, Minnesota. She joined Kiplinger in 2023 as a contributor.