It is quite an accomplishment to be featured on a livability list at Livability.com and something that apartment owners should make note of when gauging rental prices and rental housing demand. In the case of the list we are featuring, the 10 best places to raise a family are featured. Assuming most families seek out homes with two to three bedrooms, those will be the focus for each of these ten rental markets. Using the RentHub data for average rental prices and average square feet for apartments, the vast differences of each apartment market can be seen.
The following is a brief description of how Livability.com ranks their cities:
We crunched the data. We looked at the quality of the schools, the crime rate, and measures of the quality of healthcare and economy. We gave points to communities that are walkable, diverse, have lots of parks and active children’s sections in their libraries. We favored communities with shorter commute times (so working parents can be home more and on the road less) and larger populations of other kids to play with.
We will highlight some of these community characteristics that will hopefully help you understand the livable fabric of each.
10. Palo Alto, CA
2 Bedroom – $3,500 per month / 1,100 sf
3 Bedroom – $8,750 per month / 2,324 sf
Palo Alto, CA is home to Stanford University. Located in the San Francisco Bay Area, the city is a center for Silicon Valley and the highly regarded technology companies that are found there.
Based on the US Census, over 80% of the residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Just over 45% of the households are renter occupied. There are over 66,000 residents, to which +23% are under the age of 18. The median household income is $126,771 (in 2014 dollars). Housing demand in Palo Alto, being driven by university employees and technology sector, along with higher household incomes, are heavy drivers of the apartment market rents here.
9. Bowling Green, OH
2 Bedroom – $665 / 774 sf
3 Bedroom – $782 / 882 sf
The City of Bowling Green, OH is home to Bowling Green State University and the 18,856 students who attend school there. The median age of the city is 23.2 years, with 43.2% of residents being between the ages of 18 to 24. It can be surmised that the student population is the largest driver of demand for apartment rentals and the local economy. A small population found in a central location has presented the city the opportunity to have a walkable downtown with regular customers for the businesses found there. The lower rental rates are better understood when fully realizing the proportion of students that make up the total housing rental market.
8. Homewood, AL
2 Bedroom – $1,045 / 1,093 sf
3 Bedroom – $1,425 / 1,400 sf
A suburb of Birmingham, home to Samford University, Homewood, AL has a total population of 25,708. For a smaller city from this top ten list, Homewood has several parks that helped increase the livability factor. You can also find the Hollywood Historic District, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.
7. St. George, UT
2 Bedroom – $905 / 1,050 sf
3 Bedroom – $1,300 / 1,490 sf
St. George, UT is the fifth fastest growing city in the United States as of 2015. The total population of St. George is 80,202 (as of 2015). Some things of note here are the museums, parks and recreation areas, and the nearby Zion National Park. The city is also home to Dixie State University.
6. Oak Park, IL
2 Bedroom – $1,750 / 1,045 sf
3 Bedroom – $2,200 / 1,462 sf
Oak Park, IL is located just outside of the City of Chicago. Commutes to downtown Chicago are made easy with several options available to local residents. CTA Green and Blue public transit lines, Metra Union Pacific West Line commuter rail, and CTA & PACE buses serve the city. After years of a slowly declining population, the 2015 estimated population of 52,287 shows positive growth for the first time in over 50 years. Shorter commutes to downtown Chicago, along with the presence of walkable Transit Oriented Development in Oak Park help to increase the livability of the city.
5. Chula Vista, CA
2 Bedroom – $1,525 / 900 sf
3 Bedroom – $2,100 / 1,400 sf
With a population of 260,988, Chula Vista is the second largest city in the San Diego Metropolitan Area. Chula Vista translated means “beautiful view”. The beautiful views and weather are no doubt a driving factor in population growth in the city. Also, ample land for development provides an opportunity for growth. As of 2010, 27.9% of the population was under the age of 18. Roughly 42% of the households are rental occupied. Short commute times that allow for parents to be with their families is a strong factor when looking at a livable community in the California apartment rental market.
4. Holland, MI
2 Bedroom – $815 / 870 sf
3 Bedroom – $1,200 / 1,400 sf
Holland, MI is, not surprisingly, reminiscent of the city’s namesake country of Holland. Besides tulips and windmills, Holland, MI is a young and walkable community of the banks of a great body of water. As of 2014, the population was 33,644, with a median age of 29.6 years. Located along Lake Michigan, Holland is home to Hope College. A regular tourist destination for those seeking the Tulip Festival and all of the windmills, there is a positive climate for businesses there.
3. Newton, MA
2 Bedroom – $2,350 / 1,005 sf
3 Bedroom – $3,400 / 1,700 sf
Newton, MA has an average household size of 2.53 persons and a total population of 87,018. Located 7 miles from downtown Boston, it provides convenient access to the region’s major job center. In addition to the short commute to downtown Boston, Newton is served by three forms of transit: light rail, commuter rail, and bus service. The total population as of 2015 was 88,817. The population has seen growth since 2000 further pushing demand for available housing. The average household income is $167,013, helping to support the higher apartment rents seen here. Along with the high household incomes, Newton is home to several schools of higher education.
2. Chandler, AZ
2 Bedroom – $1,020 / 988 sf
3 Bedroom – $1,395 / 1,481 sf
Chandler is a large suburb of Phoenix, AZ. It has a total population of 249,353. The median age is 34.6, with an average household income of $81,567 a year. The city has seen rapid growth over the past 50 years. In 1960, there was a total population of 9,531 and has grown to 249,353 in 2016. There are 62,377 households in Chandler with 41.1% of those having children under the age of 18. Because of the parks and recreations opportunities available there, the city has been named a “Playful City USA” ten times.
1. Rockville, MD
2 Bedroom – $2,059 / 1,145 sf
3 Bedroom – $2,425 / 1,633 sf
Rockville, MD has seen tremendous growth over the past 80+ years. This Washington D.C. suburb has an estimated population of 66,980. A diverse community, Rockville has one of the largest Asian populations in the state, with 27.59% of residents identifying that way. Many of the residents are employed by the large government contractors located within the region. There are several institutions of higher education in Rockville. Commutes are manageable to Washington D.C with the Metro rail system and the commuter rail system.