Top Cities for Active Renters: Texas Triangle Boasts Most Apartments With Access to Fitness Amenities

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With home taking center stage in our lives during the last two years, easy access to fitness is more important than ever. To that end, four cities in Texas have the most apartments in communities with fitness amenities, with Houston boasting the largest number of fitness-friendly rentals. Meanwhile, all apartments in Tempe and Chandler, AZ, as well as four other cities, feature fitness facilities. The most popular sports amenities in apartment communities are swimming pools, fitness centers and spas. 

As many gyms and other fitness centers operate at reduced capacity, having access to a private gym or swimming pool can be a blessing. Fortunately, renters don’t have to look very far from home, as many new apartment communities offer some type of fitness amenity, such as a gym, pool or tennis court. With this in mind, we were curious to find out which cities are best fit for sports-minded renters. So, using data from Yardi Matrix, we analyzed all apartment communities with fitness amenities.

Today, as many as 91% of newly-built apartments in the U.S. are fitness-friendly. In other words, they’re located in a rental community with at least one fitness amenity. In fact, in the past two decades, there’s been a growing trend of building apartment communities with on-site sports facilities as developers strive to meet renters’ appetite for physical activity and convenience — a trend that has accelerated dramatically since 2010.

Swimming pools are more common than fitness centers in apartment communities

The most common fitness amenity in rental communities is the swimming pool. Around 69% of the nation's sports-friendly apartments are located in a rental community with a pool — even more so than fitness centers, as only 60% of apartments have an on-site gym. Without a doubt, these two fitness amenities are the most coveted amenities nationwide, well ahead of other fitness-related amenities. Meanwhile, only 25% of apartments have access to an on-site spa, the third most popular amenity. And when it comes to sports courts, tennis wins the popularity contest: 17% of rentals are located in communities with tennis courts, followed by communities with basketball courts, which represent 13% of apartments.

Everything is larger in Texas, even the number of apartments with on-site fitness amenities

After crunching the numbers, we found that four Texas cities earned the top spots in our ranking, boasting the largest numbers of rental apartments with access to some type of fitness amenity. By far, Houston has the largest number of apartments for rent with on-site sports facilities (440,000). Dallas apartments are the second-best choice for active renters (233,000), followed by Austin apartments (195,000) and San Antonio apartments (183,000).

At first, one might think that the Texas Triangle is experiencing a wellness craze. But, the reality on the ground is a bit different. Texas’ population increased by 3.9 million people (or 15.9%) between 2010 and 2020, adding more residents than any other U.S. state. And, notably, most of the growth occurred in the Houston, San Antonio, Austin and Dallas metros, prompting developers to build many new apartment buildings in the last decade — the majority of which come with fitness amenities.

Behind the Lone Start State, Atlanta is the first location to break the Texas spell, coming in at No. 5 in our ranking. Boasting 158,000 apartments with on-site fitness facilities, people living in Atlanta rentals enjoy the convenience of going for a swim or hitting the gym right within their apartment community.

Other notable cities are Charlotte, NC; Orlando, FL; Los Angeles, CA; Chicago, IL; Denver, CO; Indianapolis, IN; Fort Worth, TX; Jacksonville, FL; Washington, D.C.; Columbus, OH and San Diego, CA.

100% of apartments in six locations have on-site fitness amenities

Furthermore, when we calculated the share of apartments with access to on-site fitness amenities out of the total apartments, we found that in six cities all apartment communities have access to some type of sports amenity. In other words, all renters who call these sunny cities home can exercise right where they live: Tempe and Chandler, AZ; Katy and Frisco, TX; Tustin, CA; and Duluth, GA.

These six cities share a common thread: Most rental communities here were built within the last 20 years. What's more, the majority of apartments in these locations are high-end, boasting designs and amenities that promote physical activity and wellness.

Not to be outdone, Cary, NC; Paradise, NV; Irvine, CA, and other cities in Texas and Arizona follow closely with a 99% share. In fact, about half of the markets in our ranking boast overwhelming shares of on-site sports facilities of 90% and up.

Other cities of note are Mesa, AZ; Plano, TX; Scottsdale, AZ; Humble, TX; Tucson, AZ; Henderson, NV; Lewisville, TX; Carrollton, TX; McKinney, TX; Round Rock, TX and Boca Raton, FL.

Digging further into our data, we found that, sports amenities were not restricted to high-end communities. For example, only 44% of the total number of apartments in Houston that have access to fitness facilities are located in luxury communities, followed by Dallas (51%) and Austin (62%).

However, it's a different story in Atlanta, where 73% of apartments with sports amenities are in luxury communities — the highest percentage of high-end apartments in our top 10 cities for sports-minded renters.

On-site swimming pools, fitness centers are highly popular in Houston

With its hot climate, Houston again leads the way with the most rentals with access to swimming pools (431,000 apartments). And, of course, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio are hot on its heels. But there’s more: Houston also has the most rentals with on-site fitness centers (286,000 apartments), tennis courts (45,000 apartments) and sports courts (16,000 apartments).

And, although it was invented by a Canadian, basketball is the second favorite sport in the U.S. — and this amenity seems to be most popular among New Yorkers. In fact, renters have the home court advantage in Manhattan, which has 48,000 apartments with access to basketball courts, followed by Brooklyn (42,000 apartments).

Granted, any form of exercise is good for your health, but there are also people who prefer to hit the spa instead of the gym. Much to no surprise, Houston wins in this category as well: It has the most apartments with access to an on-site spa (138,000 rentals), followed by Phoenix, AZ, and Las Vegas, NV.

Other cities with sports amenities are Plainsboro, NJ; Daly City, CA; Troy, MI; Fort Wayne, IN and Raleigh, NC.

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 ranking, RentCafe.com’s research team analyzed Yardi Matrix apartment data across 170 markets (nearly 4,000 cities) in the U.S. The data includes only large-scale multifamily properties of 50 units or more that were completed through January 2022.

The city rankings are based on the number of apartments located in rental communities with at least one on-site fitness amenity. Cities with less than 50 multifamily properties were not included in the analysis.

The share of rentals with access to some type of on-site fitness amenity was calculated from the total number of rental apartments in the specified locations that were completed through January 2022.

The terms fitness amenities, fitness facilities, sports amenities and sports facilities are used interchangeably and refer to common area amenities in rental communities or buildings. Fitness amenities analyzed include: swimming pools, fitness centers, spas, tennis courts, basketball courts, volleyball courts, racquetball courts, sport courts and golf course frontages.

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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Veronica Grecu is a senior creative writer and researcher for RentCafe. With more than 10 years of experience in the real estate industry, she covers a variety of topics in residential and commercial real estate, including trends and industry news. Previously, she was involved in producing content for Multi-Housing News, Commercial Property Executive and Yardi Matrix. Veronica’s academic background includes a B.A. in Applied Modern Languages and an M.A. in Advertising and PR.

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