Many real estate investors choose to invest only around their own city or state. By not looking at other markets, they are missing out on opportunities to diversify and maximize their returns.
To save you time in searching for and understanding the most attractive markets, Stessa crunched the numbers to create a ranking of 77 of the largest U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) based on 5 key indicators: population, 2-year population growth, 2-year job growth, rental vacancy rate, and price-to-rent ratio. Data was sourced from the US Census Bureau, US Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Zillow.
Learn more about the top 5 MSAs below, and enter your email to receive a spreadsheet of the complete rank-ordered analysis. With the complete data on all 77 markets, you can do your own deep dive analysis.
Get Your Free Spreadsheet Covering All 77 Markets
Population:2,474,314 Charlotte ranks highly in our list due to a strong job growth rate of 7.8% and one of the country’s lowest rental vacancy rate (3.1%). In terms of population size, Charlotte is just slightly outside the top 20, but makes up for it by having good population growth (4.1%). The median property valuation (as measured by Price-to-Rent ratio) in Charlotte is slightly more expensive than the US median.
Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
Population: 7,233,323 The Dallas-Fort Worth area is attractive for real estate investors due to a large and fast-growing population (4.1%). Its job growth of 6.8% puts it in 17th position in the US, and it is fairly valued relative to the other MSAs. The one downside to Dallas is that it has a relatively high rental vacancy rate of 6.4%.
Population: 5,789,700 Atlanta doesn’t stand out based on any of our indicators. Yet, the capital of Georgia is in the top 20 across all indicators except Price-to-Rent ratio, which made it an attractive market overall. Atlanta’s property value is 11x Price-to-Rent, making it slightly cheaper compared to the median MSA in our list.
Population: 2,441,257 Orlando has strong job and population growth figures, which are ranked 3rd and 4th respectively in our list of MSAs. However, the theme park capital of the world is weighed down by the fact that it is the most expensive market in the top 5 with Price-to-Rent ratio of 12. Its rental vacancy rate of 6.1% is also only slightly better than the US median.
Fort Myers, FL
Population: 722,336 While Fort Myers is the fourth smallest market (as measured by population) in our list, it more than makes up for its size with the highest job (11.0%) and population growth (6.5%) figures in the 77 MSAs we analyzed, and 2nd best rental vacancy rate (1.8%). The Florida city is also valued in line with the US median.
Access Full Analysis of Top 77 Real Estate Markets
Other Factors To Keep In Mind
Once you have selected a market to focus on, it’s important to do further research. Start reviewing listings, contacting agents or property owners, and building your own investment thesis. Factors such as local development plans, city-specific operational expenses, ease of getting permits, land availability, rent regulations, and local taxes / fees will all play a key role in determining the success of your next real estate investment.