By Carl Whitaker | Axiometrics Real Estate Analyst
San Francisco. Los Angeles. New York. These are just a few metros that are constantly brought up in conversations regarding the apartment industry due to their high demand among renters.
But what about other metros not at the forefront of international – or even American – consciousness? “Under the radar” metros, if you will. Some metros such as Chattanooga, Ann Arbor and Reno may not have the same clout as the larger metros mentioned earlier, but would still make wonderful places for many people.
So from an apartment renter’s perspective, what are some of these under the radar metros?
Axiometrics has compiled a list of metros fitting this criteria. Whether it be their affordable rent, strong economy – e.g. strong job growth – or a certain je ne sais quoi,these metros are surely worth an under the radar discussion.
They’re also less expensive for renters than the national average.
In fact, Athens has seen some of the strongest job growth in the nation – an estimated 4.0% job growth between June 2015 and June 2016 – which means those looking to rent an apartment in the area probably won’t have much trouble finding a job. Music lovers will find more than their fair share of concerts to attend as well, as the city has a thriving music scene – not an uncommon phenomenon in college towns.
Savannah, GA: Located on the Georgia coast, Savannah is steeped in history and is one of the oldest cities in the southern U.S.
Much like the other Peach State city on this list, the Savannah metro has enjoyed healthy job growth over the past year (approximately 4.1% from June 2015 to June 2016), which of course makes the task of finding a job much easier. Furthermore, the 10% job growth within the Professional and Businesses Services sector suggests jobs coming to the area are higher paying jobs – another indicator of a strong local economy.
Given its antiquity, history buffs looking to rent an apartment might not have to look much farther than Savannah. As an added plus, Savannah’s proximity to the beach means you’re a history buff and a beach-goer, Savannah just might be your perfect city.
Cape Coral, FL: Cape Coral is included in this list because many people may overlook the coastal city in favor of larger Florida cities such as Miami, Orlando, and Tampa.
Make no mistake, though, that the Cape Coral area has plenty to offer those looking to rent an apartment. Job growth figures since 2015 suggest the area’s economy is doing well, and finding a job won’t prove to be too problematic. Cape Coral’s job growth of 4.2% over the past twelve months – driven primarily by growth in the Leisure and Hospitality sector – places the city among the nation’s fastest job growth markets.
Baseball fans will be especially endeared to the area. With four minor-league baseball stadiums within a two-hour drive and the month-long sanctuary that is spring training, taking in a few dozen baseball games every year is as easy as can be.
Ann Arbor, MI: Ann Arbor is another city often associated with a university (the University of Michigan), but the city’s sheer size and importance for the region this means Ann Arbor is a town bustling with activities for residents. The low unemployment rate (3.2% according to the latest figures) and high job-growth rate (4.4% from June 2015 to June 2016) reinforces Ann Arbor’s importance as a regional employment hub.
Word to the wise – those looking to catch a college football game at Michigan’s stadium, “The Big House” (an appropriate name seeing that it’s the largest stadium in the nation), may want to consider buying tickets well in advance, as the stadium is consistently filled to capacity.
Reno, NV: Reno is yet another city enjoying its fair share of recent economic prosperity. The northwestern Nevada city can boast about its recent job growth, which is among the nation’s best since the beginning of 2015. Multiple employment sectors including Mining, Logging, and Construction, Professional and Business Services, and Trade, Transportation & Utilities have all grown more than 4% since June 2015.
Those looking to rent in Reno will also find plenty to do throughout the year. The city’s close proximity to the Sierra Nevada Mountains means renters can spend their winters skiing and the rest of the year enjoying an array of entertainment options around the city.
Chattanooga, TN: Tucked in between a few of the many ridges created by the Appalachian Mountains, Chattanooga is one of the nation’s most scenic cities. In fact, the official nickname of the city is the “Scenic City”.
Chattanooga, though, has far more to offer than just its natural beauty. Chattanooga was the first city in the nation to implement fiber optic internet service, which means residents have the luxury of incredibly fast internet speeds. This fiber optic network is helping spur the city’s economy forward as well.
Tacoma, WA: Tacoma may get overlooked in favor of nearby Seattle, but Tacoma has plenty to offer potential renters. For one, the rent in Tacoma is much cheaper than Seattle. While the average rent in Seattle will cost you almost $1,700 per month, the average rent in Tacoma is about $500 less.
A drive of 40+ miles may scare off some folks, but other transit options such as SoundTransit are viable options to cut down on the commute hassle. In addition, Tacoma has been adding a healthy amount of jobs – 3.5% job growth from June 2015 to June 2016 – so a commute to Seattle may not be necessary. Nearby Mount Rainier is also a plus for any outdoorsy types.
Axiometrics’ specialty is monitoring the apartment and student housing markets to provide a granular view of volatile market trends through the interactive AXIOPortal.