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|
|2||Warner Robins, GA||$1,005||1,164||43%||11%|
|5||Phenix City, AL||$1,162||1,276||42%||0%|
|9||Union City, GA||$1,161||1,104||65%||0%|
|17||Las Cruces, NM||$1,033||1,034||36%||11%|
|18||Panama City, FL||$1,216||1,113||37%||0%|
|20||Winter Haven, FL||$1,107||1,022||52%||37%|