If you’ve ever watched an episode of HGTV’s House Hunters, then you know the first step in any real-estate search isn’t buying Bubble Wrap at Home Depot—it’s making a priority list. And yes, that goes for renters, too. With rents hitting new all-time highs due to the hyper-competitive home sales market, many people are having to choose the one thing that is most important to them and compromise on their nice-to-haves. For example, you might have to pick between a place with a second bedroom that can double as a home office or a spacious backyard where the puppy you adopted mid-pandemic can roam. Research done by Living Cozy shows that there is a different U.S. city for every kind of tenant, depending on what you care about the most. After analyzing factors like cost of living, two-bedroom apartment availability, and number of walkable parks, the researchers found that Washington, D.C., tops the list as the best metro area overall. However, if the nation’s capital isn’t your cup of tea, one of these five other leading locations could be the right fit.

For Young, Budding Professionals: Atlanta

Boasting an impressive 111 jobs per 1,000 residents, Atlanta’s job market is booming. So if you are tired of your current coworkers or looking to make a career change into a new industry, update your LinkedIn and consider moving South. 

For Nature Lovers: New Orleans

With most companies allowing their employees to work from anywhere these days, why not move closer to what makes you the happiest? According to Living Cozy, 23 percent of the land within the limits of the Big Easy has been dedicated to green space, which encompasses a hidden gem: the Sankofa Wetland Park. 


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For Anyone Who Must Get Their Steps In: Boston

One-hundred percent of Boston dwellers live within a 10-minute walk of a park. Whether you stroll to the Common or along the riverside, your hour-long lunch break just got a whole lot better.  

For Big Spenders: San Francisco

It comes as no surprise that the tech mecca of the United States is home to the country’s highest salaries ($8,073 per month). That translates to $97,000 per year, a portion of which could be stashed away for a future down payment or weekly omakase. Head out West the next time you’re ready for a raise. But be warned, the Golden Gate city also has one of the highest costs of living.

For the Budget Conscious: El Paso, Texas

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the home of Tex-Mex food, which is more affordable than Memphis, Tulsa, and San Antonio. Given you won’t be spending a small fortune just to put a roof over your head, you can invest whatever extra cash you have in making your rental feel like home. Paint, peel-and-stick tile, and fresh lighting go a long way.