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Rental Trends: Renters Say Arlington is One of the Best Places to Live in the U.S.

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This biweekly sponsored column is written by the experts at Gordon James Realty, a local property management firm that specializes in residential real estate, commercial real estate and home owner associations. Please submit any questions in the comments section or via email.

Renters consider Arlington one of the nation’s very best places to live, according to a recent survey by rental listing company Apartment List.

Only Plano, Texas, and Boston, Massachusetts, ranked higher in the company’s nationwide survey of 18,000 renters in 100 cities. The survey aimed to shed light on what the nation’s renters are looking for in the place where they make their home. Arlington earned an A-plus overall and in many other categories, including satisfaction with schools, the economy and safety.

“Arlington earned one of the best three scores in the nation with excellent grades across all categories,” Andrew Tam, Vice President of Data Science at Apartment List, said regarding the survey. “The U.S. renter population is at its highest level in 20 years, and Arlington clearly meets the needs of this large and highly mobile demographic.”

Arlington renters gave it the nation’s highest marks for safety. In the survey, 93 percent said they were satisfied or extremely satisfied with the city’s safety and crime rate. In addition, the survey showed that:

  • Renters gave Arlington A-plus marks for satisfaction with the daily commute and access to recreational activities
  • The county scored high for renters’ confidence in the local economy; 46 percent feel it is on the right track and 21 percent think it is on the wrong track
  • Arlington’s lowest grades were for satisfaction with schools and local taxes, which both earned A-minuses.

About three quarters of Arlington renters said they expect to buy a home in the future.

Washington, D.C., and other D.C.-area suburbs also ranked high. D.C. came in seventh, just four spots behind Arlington. Silver Spring came in 25th with an overall grade of an A-minus while Alexandria received a B-plus.

All that satisfaction comes at a price, as most residents know. Of the 100 places included in the survey, Arlington was the ninth most expensive with a median two-bedroom rent of $2,000.

However, among the 100 cities surveyed, Arlington renters are the least cost burdened, defined as spending more then 30 percent or more of their income on rent. The company’s analysis showed 40 percent of Arlington residents are cost burdened, while several cities have more than 65 percent of renters that fall into that category. Nationwide, nearly 52 percent of renters are cost burdened, according to Apartment List.

Arlington’s top scores on the survey aren’t too surprising. The county frequently tops lists of the best places to live, including a second place finish in Businessweek.com’s ranking and third place on Livability.com list of the Top 100 Best Places to Live.

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