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Queens most sought-after urban location in U.S. for renters: report

Oct. 26, 2023 By Ethan Marshall

Queens is the most sought-after urban location for renters to live in across the country, according to a new report.

The real estate firm RentCafe released its October rental activity report that found that the borough attracted the most engagement from apartment hunters in the month than anywhere else in the nation.

Queens, which ranked third place in September, climbed ahead of Arlington, VA, and Kansas City, MO, to move to the top spot in October. This climb to the top was months in the making, as the borough has been making its way up in RentCafe’s top 30 since the May 2023 report.

Increased demand in Queens led to a 72% year-over-year drop in available listings of apartments there. Out of the 150 cities and urban areas RentCafe analyzed, this was the largest year-over-year decline. However, despite the massive decrease in listings, the number of page views for homes in Queens almost tripled, increasing 195%. Renters added to favorites 127% more properties compared to October 2022. Additionally, 19% more personalized searches were saved in an effort to improve efficiency.

RentCafe ranked the cities based on a city-level rental activity score. The most desirable city for a particular metric was awarded full points, while the worst value of each city was on the zero-point level. Cities that did not have enough information when it came to certain specific metrics were awarded no points.

Ever since August 2023, RentCafe has awarded 100 points to the city with the highest total score, with the total scores of the following cities adjusted accordingly. To calculate each city’s score, four metrics were ranked, along with their averages as of the most current month in 2023 compared to the same month in 2022. These metrics are availability rate, page views, favorites and saved searches.

The availability rate score is calculated by dividing the total vacant units at the city level for the most recent month by the total units, with a year-over-year comparison of the same. The lowest rate receives the 40 point maximum.

The page views score is the total number of monthly page views for the most recent month at the city level divided by the total renter population in the city, with a year-over-year comparison of the same. In this study, page views are defined as a unique user interaction on a specific page in a 30-minute window. The maximum amount of points for this metric is 30.

The favorites score is the total monthly rental listings plus the favorites at the city level for the most current month divided by the total renter population in the city, with a year-over-year comparison of the same. Favorites here are defined as rental listings saved to favorites by website visitors.

The saved searches score is the total number of monthly saved searches at the city level for the most current month divided by the total renter population in the city, with a year-over-year comparison of the same. Saved searches are defined in this instance as a filtered/personalized apartment search saved by a website visitor.

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