Leading real estate listings sites Homes.com and ForRent.com see a significant increase in rental searches year over year for Q3.  We recently analyzed consumer search trends from Q3 2011 to Q3 2012 and found a 126 percent increase in homes and apartment rental searches.  Although the economy and home buying market are showing signs of improvement, with the uncertainty of living in a city long-term many people are still opting to rent.

The top 10 cities showing the largest increases in rental searches from Q3 2011 to Q3 2012:

  1. Charleston, S.C. – 321%
  2. Columbia, S.C. – 269%
  3. Naples, FL – 235%
  4. Chicago, IL – 193%
  5. Arlington, TX – 188%
  6. Cincinnati, OH – 184%
  7. Greensboro, N.C. – 183%
  8. Lexington, KY – 182%
  9. Nashville, TN – 181%
  10. Philadelphia, PA – 180%

Some factors that may be contributing to the rental landscape in these top 10 cities include locales near major colleges and universities or cities with an active job market attracting young professionals.  Both lead to an increase in the core rental demographic population.

Charleston, SC leads the list with the largest increase, by 321 percent.  This city is home to a variety of higher education institutes, including the Citadel and the College of Charleston, bringing thousands of young students each year and making it a great area for potential renters.

Chicago, IL, the third most populous city in the US, increases by 193 percent and is considered a prime location for recent young graduates, the most common demographic for renters.  The Windy City also appeared in our recent Q2 “State of the Rental Market” Report; therefore, it seems this area is a common destination for the renter population.

Nashville, TN becomes popular with young renters and potentially because of its well known music scene and location to Belmont and Vanderbilt Universities.  Additionally, with the current unemployment rate reporting well below the nation at 6.4%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there may be significant increases in population growth overall to this city.

Check out the complete list of top 100 searched cities and their growth below:

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