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The Best Big Cities for Renters

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

Photograph by Anthony Pidgeon

Company Symbol % Change
8 of 15

No. 5: Portland

Breakeven horizon: 3.6 years

Zillow Rent Index:  8.6%

Homes sold at a loss: 21.49%

On the IFC Network series "Portlandia," Fred Armisen called Portland "a city where young people go to retire." It's certainly a paradise for bike lovers -- it's the No. 1 city for bike commuting in the U.S., according to the 2010 Census figures for cities with more than 250,000 workers. It's also a city where renting for a decent chunk of time makes sense. Portland suffered a housing recession of about 20 percent, peak to trough, and its home value index rose 8.8 percent to $257,400 for the year ended in December. That's a hair higher than the rental index's 8.6 percent gain, which took the Zillow Rent Index to a median value of $1,423.