The Best Big Cities for Renters

By Suzanne Woolley - 2013-03-06T21:30:30Z

Photograph by James S. Russell/Bloomberg

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No. 2: Seattle 

Breakeven horizon: 4.3 years

Zillow Rent Index:  4.7%

Homes sold at a loss: 26.87%

The Seattle metro area gets kudos for safety, winning the No. 3 spot on the 2012 United States Peace Index, which measures crime and its costs to the economy. In Seattle, rents are rising at a much slower pace than housing prices. Still, the city had a peak-to-trough decline in home values of 34 percent, says Humphries, so "homes are pretty affordable by people's recent memory." The median home value is $392,200, up 12.6 percent. The city’s high average median income ($90,303), water-bound locale and clean air make up for that little rainfall issue. Seattle ranked No. 2 in Bloomberg Businessweek's ranking of America’s 50 Best Cities.