Leads increase for smaller metro areas as rent prices continue to climb.
This past spring, 32 percent of homebuyers were looking to relocate to a different metro area seeking relief from the high inflation rates and moving away from expensive job centers now that remote work is an option.
Rent. looked at the renter data to analyze the most popular metro areas with the largest inbound migration. These metro areas have more people coming in than leaving.
In a recent migration report, we saw that renters are leaving the more expensive coasts for the South and Midwest. Here, we’ll explore the top 10 metro areas that saw the greatest influx of new residents in those regions.
10 metro areas with the largest inbound migration
In these metro areas, more people are coming than leaving after analyzing migration patterns. The top-five inbound destinations are in the Southern part of the country, where smaller destinations tend to have more affordable living.
10. Waco-Temple-Bryan, TX
The metro area of Waco-Temple-Bryan, located in south-central Texas, saw more inbound migration leads at a state level. The metro area received 33,911 new leads, a 31.7 percent positive gain. While there were some leads from Atlanta, Charlotte and even New York, they remained under two percent for all.
The majority of the leads for this metro area originated within — 39 percent of leads came from inside the metro area. Followed by 16 percent that came from Austin, TX, 12 percent from Dallas, TX, and 7 percent from Houston, TX.
Austin’s one-bedroom rents climbed 121.2 percent year-over-year in June 2022, currently $3,227 on average per month. While in Waco, a one-bedroom in June 2022 costs $1,295 per month on average despite a 51 percent year-over-year increase.
9. Roanoke-Lynchburg, VA
Roanoke-Lynchburg saw an inbound migration lead increase of 31,077, a 32 percent positive gain. 35 percent of leads came from the Roanoke-Lynchburg metro area itself, with growing interest from the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale area at 12 percent.
Miami saw an increase of 27 percent in one-bedrooms and 40.6 percent in two-bedrooms year-over-year in May 2022, so residents are looking to a more affordable Roanoke, VA where, despite year-over-year increases, you can rent a one-bedroom apartment for $922 on average per month.
8. Corpus Christi, TX
Right on the Gulf of Mexico, Corpus Christi attracts locals and tourists alike to its beaches and nearby Padre Island. While 36 percent of leads come from the metro area itself, Austinites have an eye on Corpus Christi as they’ve generated 21 percent of leads.
Going from landlocked to beach access, an Austin, TX, resident can rent a one-bedroom for $876 per month on average. That’s little more than half the cost of a one-bedroom in Austin, where the average rent right now is $1,540 per month.
7. Chico-Redding, CA
It’s surprising to see a California metro area in this list, but Chico-Redding has been attracting interest from all over California. While 42 percent of leads are coming within the metro area, Chico-Redding has attracted leads from Sacramento (25 percent) and San Francisco (11 percent).
Currently, Sacramento’s one-bedroom apartments go for $2,192 on average per month. Compared to Chico-Redding, a Sacramento resident can head to the college town of Chico, CA, and rent a one-bedroom for $1,395 per month on average — more than one-third less.
With only a two-hour drive, Chico is also a great alternative to expensive San Francisco for those that can telecommute to the tech hub or are on a hybrid schedule.
6. Minot-Bismarck-Dickinson (Williston), ND
Leads and ongoing interest for inbound migration to the Minot-Bismarck-Dickinson metro area truly come from all over the country — from California and Colorado to Texas, Tennessee and Philadelphia.
The top lead comes from within the metro area at 23 percent, followed by neighboring Minneapolis at 12 percent and Los Angeles at 11 percent. The North Dakota metro area has had 11,088 leads in, a 33.42 percent positive gain.
One-bedroom and two-bedroom units are both under $1,000 per month on average in Bismarck, well below the national average.
5. Paducah KY-Cape Girardeau MO-Harrisburg-Mount Vernon, IL
This metro area is a bit unusual as it’s right where three states meet, Kentucky, Missouri and Illinois. Within the metro area, you can see about 32 percent of leads come from there. The rest of the leads are in the neighboring states — from Indiana and Tennessee to Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas.
Missouri leads with two of the significant leads in St. Louis (9 percent) and Springfield (six percent). Chicago also has an interest in the metro area, at 7 percent. Total leads coming in clock in at 17,676, with a 34.4 percent positive gain.
4. Tri-Cities TN-VA
With a total of 27,564 inbound leads, the Tri-Cities TN-VA metro area has seen a 35 percent positive gain in interest. The metro area itself has 41 percent of the inbound migration leads followed by Nashville, TN.
Nashville had a year-over-year increase of 30 percent in one-bedroom rents in May 2022. On average, a one-bedroom runs $2,036 per month. About four hours west past Knoxville on I-40, Kingsport, TN offers a population of close to 55,000 and an average rent of $687 for a one-bedroom on average.
3. Tyler-Longview (Lufkin & Nacogdoches), TX
Tyler–Longview, TX, is the only metro area in our list that has more inbound leads from outside the metro area. Dallas–Fort Worth leads with 39 percent of inbound leads into the Tyler-Longview area, followed by the metro area itself at 31 percent.
A resident of Tyler, TX, will pay $842 per month on average as opposed to someone in Dallas, two hours away by car, who pays $1,547 per month on average. That’s close to 50 percent savings in monthly rent.
And, Houston has seen a 7 percent increase in leads, with a few from Georgia, Florida, the Northeast and elsewhere in Texas.
2. Des Moines-Ames, IA
The Des Moines–Ames metro area in Iowa gets about 32 percent of inbound migration leads from within the metro area. The area remains very affordable with a one-bedroom apartment averaging around $1,081 per month.
Inbound migration interest comes from bigger metro areas like Minneapolis at 9 percent and Omaha, NE, Chicago, IL, and Madison, WI, all at 5 percent. Inbound leads come as far as San Francisco, Los Angeles and Atlanta.
Iowa as a state has the second positive gain when it comes to leads, with six percent of all inbound leads to the state generated in California.
1. Biloxi-Gulfport, MS
Taking our No. 1 spot for most interest is the Biloxi–Gulfport metro area in Mississippi, attracting about 31 percent of leads for inbound migration from within. The second most significant inbound migration interest comes from Atlanta at 14 percent.
The Georgia capital’s rent prices remain above the national average at $1,933 for a one-bedroom. In Biloxi, a one-bedroom costs $887 on average per month as of June 2022.
In search of more affordable pastures
As inflation and rent prices surge in large cities, residents continue to look for relief elsewhere. In Q1 2022, the Southern region of the country dominated interest in leads for metro areas with the Midwest close behind.
Inbound migration leads into smaller metro areas from nearby more expensive hubs is increasing as prices continue to skyrocket.
Most of the interest is regional, coming from within the metro area itself or nearby more expensive cities.
Information on migration patterns and preferences was pulled from anonymized user data collected by Rent.’s internet listings services. For each lead submitted by a user, a record is created establishing the location of the user based on an IP address and user-selected security settings. These records are combined with information, including geographical information, about the listing of interest creating an origin-destination pair. Outbound migration consists of a renter-to-listing pair. Inbound migration consists of a listing-to-renter pair. Where geographic information for either the renter or the listing was missing, the record was removed from this study. Aggregations were made based on renter location for outbound migration and on listing location for inbound location. Differences were calculated based on these aggregations. Only states with at least 10,000 inbound leads and only metros with at least 5,000 inbound leads were considered in this analysis.
Information included in this article is for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee.
– Muriel Vega