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Where Are the Country’s Hottest Rental Markets?

What are the hottest rental markets in New York these days? The answers may come as a surprise: According to a new national study by RentCafe, as of October, Queens, N.Y., had the highest level of renter activity among the 150 largest metropolitan markets in the United States. The Bronx ranked sixth. But the real dark horse was Buffalo, which came in at No. 9 — the highest-ranking new entry on the list.

With higher interest rates keeping potential buyers in the rental market across the country, rental activity and competition have ballooned. Queens was found to be the most popular location for renters looking for apartments on RentCafe.com, with 72 percent fewer available listings compared with last October. The Bronx had 20 percent fewer rentals listed than it did last October.

Buffalo’s impressive rise to ninth place — up from No. 79 on September’s list — can be explained a few ways. “The number of page views for Buffalo listings and ‘favorited’ apartments has nearly tripled compared to this time last year,” wrote a senior research analyst at RentCafe, Alexandra Both, in response to our query. “Buffalo has been witnessing increased rental activity in the past few months, and now that the off-season has cooled down other markets, the growing interest in Buffalo rentals is more visible.” She added that according to the Cost of Living Index, Buffalo’s cost of living is 27 percent lower than the New York state average.

Overall, the study found that the Midwest was the most popular region for rentals in October, led by Overland Park, Kan., a suburb of Kansas City, Kan., which had 85 percent more listing visits on RentCafe than it did last October. Kansas City, Mo., was third, Minneapolis fourth and Cincinnati eighth.

To rank the 150 largest U.S. markets for rental activity, researchers examined RentCafe listing data and user behavior. Each market was scored on a combination of four metrics and how they changed over a year. “Availability” measured vacancy rate, while metrics including “page views, “favorited properties” and “saved searches” tracked user activity in particular areas. This week’s chart shows the top 25 markets in RentCafe’s results.

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