new apartment building

Finance site WalletHub just published an interesting new study that ranks the best and worst cities for renters. In a stunning victory, six Valley cities made it into the top 10 and eight made it into the top 20. Even better, one Valley city took first place.

Before we tell you which one, let’s examine how WalletHub came up with their scoring system. They looked at two major categories: “Rental Market & Affordability” and “Quality of Life” and then produced a combined score for the overall rank.

Rental Market & Affordability (RMA) comprises 7 factors:

  1. Rental affordability, i.e. median household income divided by the annual rent price for a two-bedroom apartment
  2. Historical rental-price changes
  3. Renter households spending at least half of their income in housing
  4. Rent-to-price ratio
  5. Percent of renters
  6. Rental vacancy rate
  7. Cost of living

Quality of Life (QoL) comprises 8 factors:

  1. City satisfaction ranking
  2. Number of paid-relocation jobs for total labor force participants
  3. Jobs availability
  4. Driver friendliness
  5. Recreation
  6. Weather
  7. School systems
  8. Safety

With all of those factors in mind, WalletHub looked at 150 U.S. cities and found that the best one is … drum roll … Scottsdale, with a RMA rank of 1 and a QoL of 5.

As we said above, other the Valley cities also took high spots:

  • Chandler – 3
  • Tempe – 4
  • Gilbert – 5
  • Peoria – 8
  • Phoenix – 9
  • Glendale – 11
  • Mesa – 13

The strength of Valley cities lie in their Rental Market & Affordability score. In fact, all 8 cities examined landed in the top 10 for that category:

  1. Scottsdale
  2. Gilbert
  3. Tempe
  4. Peoria
  5. Chandler
  6. Glendale
  7. Phoenix
  8. Plano, TX
  9. Mesa
  10. Las Vegas, NV

However, aside from Scottsdale with a “5,” Valley cities don’t do quite so well on Quality of Life:

  • Phoenix – 31
  • Chandler – 34
  • Mesa – 45
  • Gilbert – 53
  • Glendale – 60
  • Tempe – 67
  • Peoria – 73

Remember, though, that WalletHub examined 150 cities, so all the Valley cities still ranked better than average, although very narrowly in Peoria’s case.

Plus, take the Quality of Life rankings with a grain of salt. Things like “driver friendliness,” “recreation” and “weather” might be more or less important to you, or you might define them differently. Picking a place to live remains a personal decision.

That being said, if you want to know which city to avoid, Oakland in California came in last on the overall list with nearly the worst scores for both affordability and quality of life. Check out the full list to see where your favorite non-Valley cities rank.

Not looking to rent? See the stunning house that $1 million buys you in Ahwatukee.

– Justin Ferris,