Best Places to Buy a Rental Property in 2022

Increasing home prices and low housing inventory indicate a competitive market for homebuyers in 2022. But with rent prices and the demand for rental housing on the rise, real estate investors are still highly motivated...

Increasing home prices and low housing inventory indicate a competitive market for homebuyers in 2022. But with rent prices and the demand for rental housing on the rise, real estate investors are still highly motivated and in a good position to purchase property. Whether you’re looking to buy your first investment property or planning to add another to your portfolio, we’ve analyzed and ranked the largest 50 U.S. markets to invest based on affordability, appreciation, rental income, population growth, and even the share of tenants who pay their rent on time.

1. Columbus, Ohio

Columbus, Ohio city skyline Ranking No. 1 as the best place to invest, Columbus is one of Ohio’s most populous and fastest-growing cities. With a lower cost of living, lively downtown neighborhoods, and an economy boosted by Ohio State University, Columbus has attracted remote workers and transplants from more expensive areas, especially during the pandemic.

Columbus ranked in the top 10 out of 50 metropolitan areas for best investment appreciation (No. 8) and best rental income growth (No. 6). Plus, Avail data shows that 90% of renters in Columbus paid their rent on time in 2021 — ranking No. 8 for the highest share of on-time rent payments.

  • Best place to invest index score: 87.8
  • Median purchase price: $217,100
  • Median rental listing price: $1,540
  • Rental listing price growth: 4%

2. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Florida

Downtown Orlando, Florida at sunset Greater Orlando is known for its tourist attractions, but the metropolitan area attracts more than just visitors — it is welcoming 1,000 new residents per week from slower-growth states. Plus, over half of residents (55%) rent their homes.

Florida has lower-than-average property taxes and no personal income tax, and the Greater Orlando area ranked No. 2 on our list for best investment appreciation and No. 7 for best rental income growth.

  • Best place to invest index score: 86.2
  • Median purchase price: $216,600
  • Median rental listing price: $1,380
  • Rental listing price growth: 3.6%

3. Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nevada

Las Vegas skyline The Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise desert offers a moderate winter climate, an economy driven by tourism from the Strip, and the most affordable housing market in our list of top 10 places to invest. Home prices here soared to record levels during the pandemic, mostly driven by out-of-state cash buyers and investors.

While the market is especially competitive, many first-time homebuyers and non-investors have been forced to keep renting due to local competition, continuing the demand for rental properties in the region.

  • Best place to invest index score: 85.3
  • Median purchase price: $205,800
  • Median rental listing price: $1,174
  • Rental listing price growth: 2.7%

4. Raleigh, North Carolina

Downtown Raleigh, North Carolina Raleigh is the second-fastest growing city out of the 50 metro areas we analyzed due to explosive population growth over the last several years. Part of the “Research Triangle,” the area is known for its universities, greenspace, food scene, and craft breweries, helping it attract and sustain young and educated residents.

Raleigh ranked No. 4 on the Wall Street Journal/Realtor.com® 2021 Emerging Housing Market Index for both investors and homeowners. Avail data shows that 92% of renters in Raleigh paid their rent on time in 2021 — ranking No. 4 for the highest share of on-time rent payments.

  • Best place to invest index score: 84
  • Median purchase price: $220,600
  • Median rental listing price: $1,162
  • Rental listing price growth: 1.4%

5. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida

Clearwater beach in Clearwater, Florida Sitting on Florida’s Gulf Coast, the Tampa Bay area offers coastal living and year-round warm weather. According to Redfin, real estate investors bought one in four homes in the Tampa metro area in the third quarter of 2021, and rent prices have surged more than most metros in the country.

With lower-than-average state property taxes and no personal income tax, the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro area ranked No. 1 for best investment appreciation and No. 5 for best rental income growth.

  • Best place to invest index score: 83
  • Median purchase price: $364,200
  • Median rental listing price: $1,287
  • Rental listing price growth: 4.4%

6. Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, Texas

Austin, Texas skyline The Greater Austin metro area has seen a massive spike in population over the last decade. Tech companies and transplants from California’s Silicon Valley have been famously relocating to Austin for years, but the city’s growth has been fueled by movers from all across the country.

The demand for housing in Austin is high, making the area ideal for rentals. Rent prices had surged more than any other tech hub in the country.

  • Best place to invest index score: 80.8
  • Median purchase price: $360,100
  • Median rental listing price: $1,476
  • Rental listing price growth: 1.1%

7. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colorado

Downtown Denver, Colorado skyline The Denver metropolitan area has seen an increase in population, cost of living, and rent prices. With its close proximity to Rocky Mountain National Park and the vibrant neighborhoods of Denver, the area offers a mix of outdoor recreation and city culture that attracts newcomers from around the U.S.

According to RentCafe, 51% of homes in Denver are renter-occupied, and the metro area ranked No. 4 on our list for best rental income growth.

  • Best place to invest index score: 80.7
  • Median purchase price: $374,400
  • Median rental listing price: $1,712
  • Rental listing price growth: 4.7%

8. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia skyline Population growth, job growth, and affordability have helped the real estate market in metropolitan Atlanta thrive. While the demand for housing is high, the supply is low — especially for single-family homes. Within the city of Atlanta itself, 50% of residents rent their homes, with Gen Z and millennials making up over half of the city’s population.

According to Realtor.com®’s 2022 Housing Forecast data, price growth in the Atlanta metro area is projected to be 3.5% year-over-year.

  • Best place to invest index score: 80
  • Median purchase price: $269,000
  • Median rental listing price: $1,364
  • Rental listing price growth: 3.3%

9. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Massachusetts/New Hampshire

Boston city skyline from Boston harbor Greater Boston is one of the pricier areas on our list to buy and rent. With an economy driven by higher education, healthcare, and finance, Greater Boston is home to both students and affluent professionals looking to rent.

Even as the pandemic drove renters out of major cities, Boston included, data shows many renters are returning to tech-based cities and rents are increasing once again.

  • Best place to invest index score: 80
  • Median purchase price: $1,012,400
  • Median rental listing price: $3,491
  • Rental listing price growth: 7.7%

10. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, California

Downtown Riverside, California Referred to as the “Inland Empire,” the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario metro area is a hub for transportation and manufacturing. But its open space, proximity to the mountains, and more affordable housing options have attracted renters and homebuyers from the Los Angeles and Orange County areas — especially during the pandemic.

Rent prices in the Riverside area saw surging increases in the last few months of 2021.

  • Best place to invest index score: 79
  • Median purchase price: $392,000
  • Median rental listing price: $1,383
  • Rental listing price growth: 2.9%

Manage Rental Properties With Avail

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Metrics used: Data is based on Realtor.com®’s 2021 median purchase price and annualized growth, Avail 2019-2021 median rental listing prices with annualized growth, 2018-2019 U.S. Census population growth data, and Avail data showing the share of tenants who paid their rent by the end of each month in 2021. The analysis was conducted based on the 50 largest metro areas in the U.S. Rankings for index score, investment affordability, investment appreciation, rental income, rental income growth, population growth, and share of on-time rent payments were determined using the above data.

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