Renters these days are blown away by the Windy City.
Chicago is the most popular market for rental housing in the United States, according to a new report from Zillow ZG, -1.97% subsidiary HotPads. ZG, -1.97% To produce its analysis, HotPads ranked the 50 largest metro areas based on what share of rental searches were from locals and how commonly they ranked as a top search destination for renters looking to relocate.
In Chicago, 86% of the searches for home and apartment rentals were performed by locals. It’s also a hot spot for renters looking to relocate. Along with Los Angeles, Chicago was among the most-search markets in 44 of the country’s 50 largest metro areas — more than any other city.
A couple of factors likely make Chicago an attractive destination in renters’ eyes. As the third-largest city in the country by population, Chicago is a major jobs market. And while the median rent there ($1,790) is higher than the national median rent ($1,535), residents only spend 28.1% of their income on rent. That’s below the oft-cited recommendation of spending no more than a third of your income on housing.
Of course, Chicago’s popularity could work against renters. “More new residents typically increase demand for housing, which in turn can make the market more competitive,” Joshua Clark, economist at HotPads, said in the report. “Those looking to relocate can benefit from making a decision sooner rather than later – if these areas don’t keep up with increased demand, rent prices could rise even faster.”
Meanwhile among current Chicago renters looking to relocate, Los Angeles was the most commonly searched destination. That’s not surprising, given that Los Angeles ranked as the second most sough-after rental market nationwide.
Unlike Chicago, Los Angeles is a very expensive place to live. The median rent there ($2,965) is nearly double the national median. Overall, renters there devote 45.7% of their income to rent on average.
Here’s how the rest of the Top 10 stacked up:
|Metropolitan Area||Median rent||Share of local rental searches|| Out-of-area |
|Percentage of income spent on rent||Most popular search destination|
|Chicago, Ill.||$1,790||86.00%||44||28.10%||Los Angeles|
|Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, Calif.||$2,965||83.00%||44||45.70%||Riverside, Calif.|
|Atlanta, Ga,||$1,490||74.80%||22||25.20%||Los Angeles|
|Seattle, Wash.||$2,255||76.20%||18||30.90%||Los Angeles|
|Denver, Colo.||$2,125||72.10%||18||31.10%||Boulder, Colo.|
|Philadelphia, Pa.||$1,690||82.10%||17||26.70%||New York City|
|San Diego, Calif.||$2,740||78.60%||16||38.80%||Los Angeles|
|Tampa, Fla.||$1,490||75.90%||16||31.40%||Orlando, Fla.|
|Phoenix, Ariz.||$1,520||74.80%||13||26.20%||Los Angeles|
|Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Fla.||$2,035||77.20%||11||40.20%||Orlando|