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Southeast Proves Best for Remote Workers Looking to Rent

With remote work migration on the rise, a new study from RentCafe uncovered the most desirable cities to move to across the nation if you work remotely. In particular, cities in the nation’s Southeast — led by Greenville, South Carolina, Raleigh, North Carolina, and West Palm Beach, Florida proved to be the best locations for working remotely this year by offering the best mix of features, affordability and remote work-readiness.

A recent Upwork study also unveiled that 4.9 million Americans have already relocated due to remote work and almost 19 million more are predicted to do so in the near future.

RentCafe analyzed and weighted 19 relevant metrics for 150 cities, using proprietary and external data, such as cost of living, apartments with short-term leases, rental demand, number of high-quality apartments, short-term rentals, rental rates, coworking spaces, percentage of remote workers, internet speed, and much more. The final city ranking is determined by the combined score in all 19 metrics.

So, for those ready to move, look toward the South and Southeast, where RentCafe identified several cities that offer the perfect balance between comfort, value, leisure and remote work-readiness. Specifically, Greenville, South Carolina, Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina, West Palm Beach, Florida, and Tampa, Florida came up on top as the most desirable places for remote workers. Other towns in Texas, Georgia, Alabama and Maryland rounded out the top 10.

Renters Who Work from Home Do It Best in the South or Southeast

Here are the top 50 U.S. cities where you’d want to move for remote workers:

1. Greenville, South Carolina

Ranking best in:

  • Share of new apartments
  • Cost of living
  • Share of short-term rentals

Greenville ranks first as the best city for remote workers, earning high scores in several relevant categories, including apartment size, availability of short-term leases and cost of living. Notably, apartments in Greenville are among the largest in the country — which speaks to the level of comfort that you are getting in this charming Southern city, especially when you need extra space for a comfortable home office.

2. Raleigh, North Carolina

Ranking best in:

  • Share of high-end apartments
  • Share of apartments with internet access
  • Share of remote workers

With a booming job market and highly educated residents, Raleigh ranks in second place. The city also scores 12th for the availability of high-quality apartments, as well as 13th in terms of access to broadband internet, thereby providing a reliable internet connection and great conditions for working from home. At the same time, the city has the 14th-highest number of remote workers in the country, proving that it’s already becoming a popular destination for professionals who work from home.

3. West Palm Beach, Florida

Ranking best in:

  • Average download speed
  • Days with good air quality
  • Share of short-term rentals

It’s not just golf that attracts people to West Palm Beach. The third-most desirable city for remote work has lots of good things going for it: It ranks first in the country for internet speed and fourth for air quality.

4. Tampa, Florida

Ranking best in:

  • Rental demand
  • Share of remote workers
  • Share of apartments with access to sport amenities

Reinforcing Florida’s appeal not only to retirees, but also to working professionals, Tampa claims fourth place in the ranking. Among the qualities that earned it the #4 spot were large apartments and easy access to sports amenities. Tampa also has the third-highest rental demand in the country, which shows just how many people choose to relocate to Tampa.

5. Durham, North Carolina

Ranking best in:

  • Share of short-term rentals
  • Share of high-end apartments
  • Rental demand

Durham is the nation’s fifth-most desirable city for remote workers, boasting a high number of short-term rentals and a great selection of high-quality apartments. Remote workers here can benefit from enticing job opportunities and comfortable living spaces, all while working from home.

6. Alpharetta, Georgia

Ranking best in:

  • Share of high-end apartments
  • Share of remote workers
  • Average square footage

The “technology city” of the South, Alpharetta claims the sixth spot. It has the most high-end apartments of all of the cities included in the ranking, therefore offering great options for a comfortable living. The city also boasts the second largest apartments of all of the cities analyzed. Plus, a high number of remote workers already reside here, which means you’ll be among other like-minded professionals.

7. Huntsville, Alabama

Ranking best in:

  • Rental demand
  • Cost of living
  • Average daily rate

The seventh-most desirable city for remote work is Huntsville, Alabama. As a matter of fact, Huntsville was a “most moved to” city during the pandemic when the flexibility of remote jobs first allowed for more choices in terms of location and living. As a confirmation of its rising appeal, our research shows that Huntsville ranks 15th in rental demand and 19th in cost of living, which makes it an attractive destination for relocation.

8. Columbus, Georgia

Ranking best in:

  • Average square footage
  • Average download speed
  • Share of short-term rentals

Columbus, Georgia is the eighth-most desirable city for remote work. A popular spot for lovers of the great outdoors, Columbus is a true gem that offers a great cost of living (#16 on our list), as well as one of the fastest internet connections, scoring in the 14th position.

9. College Station, Texas

Ranking best in:

  • Short-term rentals occupancy rate
  • Share of renters
  • Share of apartments with access to sport amenities

In particular, the city’s short-term rentals exhibited one of the lowest occupancy rates in the nation, which means that there are plenty of options here to choose from when looking for a temporary place for remote work.

10. Rockville, Maryland

Ranking best in:

  • Average download speed
  • Share of apartments with internet access
  • Share of remote workers

One of Maryland’s oldest towns, Rockville gives off an urban/suburban mix feel that ensures its residents get the best of both worlds. And, when it comes to remote workers, Rockville rounds out the top 10. More precisely, the city scores third-highest among the cities with the fastest download internet speed, as well as the fifth-best city for access to the internet. What’s more, Rockville came in fourth place for the most remote workers — a clear sign of the city’s appeal and popularity.

11. Round Rock, Texas

Ranking best in:

  • Access to internet connection
  • Number of high-end units
  • Number of apartments with access to sports amenities

12. Charlotte, North Carolina

Ranking best in:

  • Number of high-end units
  • Number of remote workers
  • Occupancy rate

13. Austin, Texas

Ranking best in:

  • Number of remote workers
  • Average download speed
  • Number of apartments with access to sports amenities

14. Jacksonville, Florida

Ranking best in:

  • Average square footage
  • Number of high-end units
  • Cost of living

15. Conroe, Texas

Ranking best in:

  • Number of high-end units
  • Share of new apartments
  • Number of apartments with access to sports amenities

16. Orlando, Florida

Ranking best in:

  • Number of days with good air
  • Number of apartments with access to sports amenities
  • Share of renters

17. Lafayette, Louisiana

Ranking best in:

  • Average download speed
  • Average daily rate
  • Number of short-term rentals

18. Atlanta, Georgia

Ranking best in:

  • Number of remote workers/co-working space
  • Short-term rentals occupancy rate
  • Share of remote workers

19. Naples, Florida

Ranking best in:

  • Share of remote workers
  • Average square footage
  • Average download speed

20. Macon, Georgia

Ranking best in:

  • Average square footage
  • Cost of living
  • Short-term rentals occupancy rate

To view the full report, including more data, charts and methodology, click here.

About Author: Demetria Lester

Demetria C. Lester is a reporter for DS News and MReport magazines with more than eight years' writing experience. She has served as content coordinator and copy editor for the Los Angeles Daily News, the Orange County Register, in addition to 11 other Southern California publications. A former editor-in-chief at Northlake College and staff writer at her alma mater, the University of Texas at Arlington, she has covered events such as the Byron Nelson and Pac-12 Conferences, progressing into her freelance work with the Dallas Wings and D Magazine. Currently located in Dallas, Texas, Lester is a jazz aesthete and loves to read. She can be reached at [email protected]
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