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What Residents Would Pay to Upgrade Their Location

Upgrade Their Location
August 2018

With job growth in and near downtown areas reaching new highs, RentCafe wanted to explore what percentage of renters are satisfied with the location they live in and how much they are willing to pay extra per month for a location upgrade.

According to its latest study, accrued by Yardi, 83 percent of residents live in less-than-ideal locations. Moreover, 60 percent are not able to pay anything more than the actual rent or a maximum of $100 more to live in their preferred location.

Rent Gap Between Top-Rated and Lowest-Rated Locations

A location upgrade is four times more expensive than what most renters can afford. The national average rent charged in top-rated locations is $1,655. That’s 37 percent more than the average national rent of $1,211 charged in lower-rated locations and a difference of $444 in the monthly rate.

  • In six cities, renters pay more than 50 percent more for a top-rated location: Chicago, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Houston, Brooklyn, New York and Memphis. Where do renters have it the worst? Chicago. In this city, the average renter is looking at almost $1,000 extra-per-month or 79 percent more to rent an apartment in a top-notch location.
  • Raleigh, Tucson, Seattle and San Diego are among the six cities where renters would need to pay less than 10 percent more for a top location. In strong job markets such as Seattle and San Diego, rents are high in most locations, even in lower-rated ones.
  • The “ideal location” for most renters is near their jobs, but that changes with age. Retired generations prioritize being closer to friends and family. Walkability is highly valued by renters of all ages: Proximity to entertainment, dining, shopping or the gym is the third-most popular location preference.
  • In the past three years, rents in low-rated locations grew faster than in first-rate locations, despite the fact that more apartments were built in less-desirable locations.