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04/07/2021

20 towns that could pick up high-roller residents leaving top metros

Al Urbanski
Real Estate Editor & Manager
Al Urbanski profile picture
Hoover, Alabama
Hoover, Ala., where you can live in the lap of luxury for only a thousand bucks a month.

Chicago has long been known as The Second City due to its secondary status in the shadow of New York, but it’s one of the major metros that lost lots of high-income residents during the pandemic.

The new second cities are the lesser towns these folks are fleeing to—and where national retail and restaurant chains are scouting space from which to serve them.

Now RentCafé, the national apartment search website, has compiled a list these retailers can pin to their expansion maps. It searched the United States for towns where luxury apartments of around 1000 sq. ft. in top locations cost in the low $1,000s to rent and ranked the top 100.

Georgia was the star state on the list with 17 towns appearing, 11 of them within the Atlanta metropolitan area. Next was North Carolina with 13 postings, six in the Raleigh metro.

No. 1 on the list was Hoover, Ala., Birmingham’s largest suburb, where one could rent an average 1,147-sq.-ft. apartment for only $1,097. Shawnee, Kan., No. 3, offers the most spacious cheap digs, registering an average square footage of 1,231-sq.-ft.

Four large cities with 300,000-plus populations made the list: Omaha, Louisville, Tulsa, and Lexington, Ky., but their accommodations were less spacious than those available in lesser towns, averaging between 900 and 1,044-sq.-ft.

Here’s the top 20 (datasource - YardiMatrix):

Rank City/State Average Rent Average Sq. Ft Share High-End Share in Top Locations
1 Hoover, AL $1,097         1,147 54% 87%
2 Warner Robins, GA $1,005         1,164 43% 11%
3 Shawnee, KS $1,173         1,231 28% 57%
4 Columbus, GA $1,129         1,229 45% 0%
5 Phenix City, AL $1,162         1,276 42% 0%
6 Macon, GA $1,106         1,112 41% 42%
7 Daphne, AL $1,176         1,165 55% 0%
8 Lexington, SC $1,128         1,068 89% 25%
9 Union City, GA $1,161         1,104 65% 0%
10 Greer, SC $1,152         1,094 43% 24%
11 Johnston, IA $1,230         1,114 63% 57%
12 Greenwood, IN $1,102         1,059 27% 33%
13 Lebanon, TN $1,143         1,063 75% 0%
14 Bellevue, NE $1,245         1,149 57% 14%
15 Madison, AL $1,168         1,050 70% 32%
16 Beavercreek, OH $1,179         1,060 48% 42%
17 Las Cruces, NM $1,033         1,034 36% 11%
18 Panama City, FL $1,216         1,113 37% 0%
19 Mobile, AL $1,225         1,126 22% 9%
20 Winter Haven, FL $1,107         1,022 52% 37%