November Rental Activity Report: Minneapolis Is Most In-Demand City, Two California Destinations Join the List

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  • Minneapolis took the lead for the first time after six months in our ranking of the most in-demand cities for renters.
  • The Midwest is still the most popular region for renters in November after seeing more apartment searches than one year ago.
  • Sun Belt destinations gained ground in November with seven new entries in the top 30. 

Renting is the new buying as home prices are still high and November marks a slower, steadier pace in the rental realm. But, which cities are seeing the most listing activity and attracting the most attention from apartment hunters?

rental activity report

Minneapolis is November’s most sought-after city by renters looking for apartments on RentCafe.com. Listings in this Midwestern city attracted the highest website engagement, pushing the city up three spots from last month. Similarly, Atlanta climbed three positions to the second spot after ranking in the top 10 throughout the high season for renting. November’s bronze medal goes to Detroit, as renters assiduously looked up apartments in the city.

Cincinnati comes fourth, reinforcing the Midwest’s appeal to renters, while Denver rounds out this month’s top five after managing to climb 12 spots since last month. Apartment listings in these cities saw the most engagement on RentCafe.com due to high rates of rental properties saved to favorites, personalized searches, scarce unit availability and overall high listing views.

Renters’ preferences for a particular region resulted in a more balanced outlook in November. The Midwest, West and South each claimed nine entries in our top 30, while the Northeast took the remaining three. To draw a comparison, take a look at the rankings in the October Rental Activity Report.

However, the Midwest has the most cities concentrated at the top of our list with Minneapolis at #1. Detroit also marked a significant milestone, ranking third after climbing 25 positions in the last month. This month, apartment hunters searched intensely for rentals in Western cities like Denver (#5) and Portland, OR (#9), but also in Colorado Springs, CO (#7) — this month’s highest ranking new entry.

Sunnier destinations like California’s Riverside and Sacramento attracted more engagements from renters this month, replacing large urban hubs like Chicago and Philadelphia — veterans of our monthly reports — in our top 30.

Minneapolis is the most popular city for renters in November

Below are this month’s top 10 cities for rental activity, as well as the biggest shifts in the last 30 days.

1. Minneapolis

Minneapolis is the most in-demand city for renters in November after six months in our top 10. Apartment hunters searched and saved more listings in the city, pushing Minneapolis from the fourth to the top spot in one month. In addition to locals looking to move, Minneapolis also attracted interest from renters in Chicago, Dallas and St. Paul, MN.

rental activity report

In November, traffic for Minneapolis apartment listings increased by 150% compared to this time last year, helping the city climb to the top spot in our ranking. Plus, renters saved 162% more personalized searches on RentCafe.com than one year ago, solidifying Minneapolis’ popularity among apartment hunters.

2. Atlanta

Similarly, Atlanta moved up three spots and came in second this month, its best performance in the last seven months. Overall high traffic for Atlanta listings helped the city rank high and stay in the top 10 most in-demand cities for renters throughout the peak rental season.

rental activity report

Renters have been intensely searching for apartments for rent in Atlanta, one of the South’s most dynamic tech hubs. Apart from locals looking for a new rental, out-of-state apartment hunters have also typed in the city’s name on RentCafe.com. Most of them come from New York City, Chicago and Orlando, FL.

3. Detroit

In November, Motor City came in third after managing to climb an impressive 25 spots. Detroit’s popularity confirms the Midwest’s appeal to renters even now, as we are transitioning away from the high season for renting. In addition to apartment hunters already living in the city, renters from Ashburn, VA; Grand Rapids, MI; and New York City were also browsing apartment listings in Detroit on RentCafe.com.

rental activity report

The intense search for rentals led to a triple amount of online traffic for Detroit listings compared to last November. In fact, the 205% increase in page views for Motor City apartments for rent is the highest among all 150 cities we analyzed. Renters also favorited 113% more properties than one year ago and saved 252% more personalized searches for rentals.

4. Cincinnati

Cincinnati occupies the fourth spot in this month’s top 30 list of the most sought-after cities for renters. A veteran of our top 10, this Midwestern renter hub climbed four positions since last month. Renters looking to move to Cincinnati mainly come from Columbus, OH; Ashburn, VA; and Finneytown, OH.

rental activity report

Increased demand for apartments in the city led to an 11% year-over-year drop in available listings and a 34% uptick in page views for rental properties on RentCafe.com. Apartment hunters generated a significant number of online engagements for Cincinnati listings, boosting overall traffic numbers and helping this popular destination get closer to the top.

5. Denver

Denver occupies the fifth spot in November after climbing 12 positions since last month. The West’s most in-demand city for renters this month hasn’t been part of the top 10 since August, in peak rental season. Denver is a top rental destination for apartment hunters living in the metro’s suburbs: Englewood, Aurora and Lakewood. Out-of-state renters looking to relocate here are mainly from Boardman, OR, and Chicago, our research shows.

rental activity report

Traffic for Denver listings rose by 60% compared to last November, helping the city climb closer to the top. Plus, renters saved 17% more properties and 32% more personalized searches than one year ago, which reflects their clear intention to move to Denver. Stronger interest in the city’s apartments for rent led to 7% fewer listings on RentCafe.com, which pushed the city up on our list of most sought-after cities by renters.

6. Queens, NY

Last month’s #1 most in-demand city for renters dropped to #6 in November but is still the Northeast’s most popular rental destination. This marks Queens’ third month as a top 10 destination for renters.

rental activity report

Renters continue searching for rentals in New York City’s largest borough, saving properties to their favorites list and making personalized searches on RentCafe.com. This led to a 164% rise in the number of page views for Queens listings compared to last November and a 64% drop in available apartments — the most notable decrease among all the rental destinations in our top 30 this month.

7. Colorado Springs, CO

This month, Colorado Springs ranks seventh after pulling off a spectacular 61-spot climb. Renters have been searching for listings in the city, helping Colorado Springs become this month’s highest ranking new entry. Aside from locals looking for a new place, Colorado’s second most populated city is a top choice for renters looking to move away from Denver and suburb Englewood, our research shows.

rental activity report

Traffic for Colorado Springs listings doubled year-over-year as renters added 130% more apartments to their favorites list, which shows their determination to move here. At the same time, apartment hunters saved 40% more personalized searches on RentCafe.com. Increased rental demand for apartments in the city located at the southern edge of the Rocky Mountains also led to 10% fewer available apartment listings than one year ago.

8. Orlando, FL

Orlando is the eighth most appealing city for renters this month after jumping 11 positions since October. This popular Florida city continues to attract renters, particularly from Miami and Atlanta, according to our research.

rental activity report

Apartment hunters browsed Orlando listings on RentCafe.com more intensely than this time last year, which led to a 41% uptick in overall page views for the city. This renter hub’s great mix of job opportunities, affordability, mild climate and proximity to beaches is a magnet for apartment hunters, which helped the city rank in our top 30 throughout the peak rental season.

9. Portland, OR

Portland landed at #9 this month, three positions higher than in October. Renters looking to move here are mainly from Seattle and Portland suburbs Beaverton and Gresham, as well as Oregon’s Beaverton, further out on the Columbia River.

rental activity report

In November, renter interest in the city’s apartment listings boosted traffic by 57% compared to this time last year. Apartment hunters also saved 4% more personalized searches on RentCafe.com, which shows a clear intent to rent here.

10. Kansas City, MO

Kansas City, MO, rounds out our top 10 this month, a decline compared to October when it received the bronze medal for rental activity. KCMO’s popularity peaked at the start of rental season, when it took the lead for two months in a row: in May and June. Renters planning to relocate here are mainly from Chicago; Kansas City, KS; Denver and suburb Overland Park, our data shows.

rental activity report

Renters favorited 131% more Kansas City apartments in November compared to one year ago and saved 67% more personalized searches for apartments on RentCafe.com, which shows their determination to move here. Heightened interest in KCMO apartments also led to 3% fewer available listings than last November and a solid 88% rise in the number of page views. This helped the popular Midwestern hub rank among the top 10 most in-demand cities for renters.

Midwest cities take the lead, but Southern locations make strides

In November, the Midwest, South and West each claim nine cities in our top 30, with the remaining three all located in the Northeast. However, Midwestern locations are the most popular, with four entries among the top 10 most sought-after cities by renters, including leader Minneapolis, fast climber Detroit (#3) and chart veteran Cincinnati (#4).

Other desirable rental destinations in the Midwest that made our November top 30 are Kansas City, MO (#10); Indianapolis, which climbed 18 spots to #12 due to a 54% year-over-year rise in listings traffic and a 13% drop in available apartments on RentCafe.com; Cleveland (#13); Overland Park, KS (#16); Omaha, NE (#22); and new entry Sioux Falls, SD (#24).

In November, nine Southern cities joined our top 30 compared to October, when only six made the cut. Atlanta remains the highest ranking rental destination in the region, but newcomers Raleigh, NC (#30) and Dallas (#25) made the most significant progress in the last month, climbing 41 and 63 positions, respectively. Apartment hunters’ increased interest in Dallas led to a 40% rise in listings traffic compared to one year ago. At the same time, renters saved 16% more personalized searches for apartments in the city, fueling its rise closer to the top. In fact, all but one of the Southern cities on our list ranked higher than last month.

The West also gained two more locations in our ranking this month, with Denver taking the lead at #5. New entry Colorado Springs (#7) stands out after jumping 61 spots straight to our top 10. Renters also assiduously searched for rental listings in Portland, OR (#9); Peoria, AZ (#20); Aurora, CO (#21); Chandler, AZ (#23); Tacoma, WA (#26); as well as California’s Riverside (#27) and Sacramento (#28) — both new entries in our top 30.

November’s most popular Northeast locations for renters are all in New York: Queens, NY (#6); the Bronx, NY (#19); and Buffalo, NY (#17). Notably, the number of page views for Buffalo listings tripled compared to last November, while traffic for listings in the Bronx more than doubled, which highlights renters’ interest in moving here.

Meet the newcomers: Sunnier destinations in the Sun Belt caught renters’ attention in November

This month, there are nine new entries in our top 30 most sought-after cities by renters, and almost all of them are located in the Sun Belt. However, the highest ranking newcomer is Colorado Springs at #7. After traffic for Colorado Springs listings on RentCafe.com doubled compared to one year ago, the city climbed 61 spots straight to our top 10.

Next is Richmond, VA, at #15, which leaped 29 spots after a 34% uptick in traffic for apartments for rent in the city. Washington, D.C., also managed to climb 20 positions to #18 after increased interest from renters led to a 4% drop in available listings on RentCafe.com. Interestingly, page views for listings in South Dakota’s Sioux Falls (#24) doubled year-over-year. At the same time, renters favorited nearly four times as many apartments in the city and saved 14% more personalized searches, a clear sign of their determination to rent here. The high number of engagements for Sioux Falls listings propelled the city in our top 30 this month.

The following five new entries on our list are all sunny destinations in the Sun Belt. The first is Dallas at #25. Renters made more searches for apartments in the city than one year ago, which resulted in a 40% rise in listings traffic compared to last November.

Riverside, CA, comes next at #27. This vibrant city, part of Greater Los Angeles, climbed 12 spots since October as traffic for Riverside listings on RentCafe.com jumped 73% compared to last year. High renter interest also led to 38% fewer apartments available on our platform. Similarly, Sacramento (#28) also got a seven-spot boost after an 81% rise in listings traffic. Renters favorited 15% more Sacramento apartments and saved 15% more personalized searches than one year ago, which also pushed this location higher in the rankings.

Similarly, available listings in Fort Lauderdale, FL, (#29) also decreased by 34% as renters intensified their rental search for this Florida destination. Last but not least, one of North Carolina’s most vibrant cities, Raleigh, rounds out our top 30 this month. The city climbed 41 positions due to a 10% year-over-year uptick in listings traffic and 13% fewer available apartments on RentCafe.com due to high rental demand.

Here's the full list of cities analyzed and their scores:

Methodology

RentCafe.com is a nationwide apartment search website that enables renters to easily find apartments and houses for rent throughout the U.S.

To compile this report, the research team analyzed RentCafe.com’s rental listing data across the 150 largest cities by population in the contiguous U.S. and with a relevant listing inventory sample. The regions are defined according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The cities were ranked based on a city-level rental activity score. Full points were awarded to the most desirable city for a particular metric, while the zero-point level was set slightly below the worst city’s value. Cities that lacked sufficient information regarding specific metrics were awarded zero points.

Beginning in August 2023, the city that obtained the highest total score was awarded 100 points and all total scores of the following cities were adjusted accordingly.

To calculate each city’s score, we ranked them according to four metrics and their averages as of the most current month in 2023 versus the same month in 2022.

1. Availability Rate (Maximum score: 40 points)

The availability rate score was calculated by dividing the total vacant units at the city level for the most recent month by the total units and a year-over-year comparison of the same. The lowest rate received maximum points.

2. Page Views (Maximum score: 30 points)

The page views score was calculated as the total number of monthly page views for the most recent month at the city level divided by the total renter population in the city and a year-over-year comparison of the same. Page views are defined as a unique user interaction on a specific page in a 30-minute window.

3. Favorites (Maximum score: 15 points)

The favorites score was calculated as the total monthly rental listings added to favorites at the city level for the most current month divided by the total renter population in the city and a year-over-year comparison of the same. A favorite is defined as a rental listing saved to favorites by a website visitor.

4. Saved Searches (Maximum score: 15 points)

The saved searches score was calculated as the total number of monthly saved searches at the city level for the most current month divided by the total renter population in the city and a year-over-year comparison of the same. A saved search is defined as a filtered/personalized apartment search saved by a website visitor.

Fair use and redistribution

We encourage you and freely grant you permission to reuse, host, or repost the research, graphics, and images presented in this article. When doing so, we ask that you credit our research by linking to RentCafe.com or this page, so that your readers can learn more about this project, the research behind it and its methodology. For more in-depth, customized data, please contact us at media@rentcafe.com.

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Alexandra Both is a senior creative writer with RentCafe. She has more than six years of real estate writing experience as a senior editor with Commercial Property Executive and Multi-Housing News. She is a seasoned journalist, who has previously worked in print, online and broadcast media. Alexandra has a B.A. in Journalism and an M.A. in Community Development.

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