Chesapeake and Virginia Beach: Two Of The Best Cities For Renters In 2023

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Virginia Shines: Hampton Roads Cities Among the Top Cities for Renters in 2023

Navigating the dynamic rental market in the United States can be overwhelming, given the multitude of cities offering unique living experiences.

Considerations such as affordability, apartment qualities, access to outdoor spaces, safety measures, and more hold significant importance in determining a city’s appeal to renters. With the wide array of options available, the question arises: which city stands out as the best choice for renters?

Forbes wanted to find the best places for renters in 2023, so they compared 93 of the largest U.S. cities using seven relevant factors. Their assessment of apartment qualities considered average square footage, the presence of in-unit washer and dryer, stainless steel kitchen appliances, and the allowance of pets. Data for this evaluation was sourced from

Apartment affordability was determined by analyzing average rents and median household incomes in each city, utilizing data from and the U.S. Census Bureau, respectively.

To account for safety and disaster risk, cities were scored based on the number of federally declared disasters since 1953, using data from FEMA. Other factors included park accessibility, crime rates sourced from the FBI, recent development data from, and unemployment rates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to the study’s findings, Lincoln, NE emerges as the best city for renters this year with an overall score of 70 out of 100. With an average rent of $1,068 per month for a 2-bedroom apartment and an average size of 1,047 square feet, Lincoln offers affordable and spacious rental options.

The Trust for Public Land’s ParkScore of 62.7 out of 100 indicates good park accessibility, allowing residents to enjoy the outdoors and fresh air. While Lincoln faces risks associated with hurricanes, severe storms, and floods, the city has developed resilience strategies to mitigate such challenges.

Known as “Star City” due to its map symbol representing Nebraska’s state capital, Lincoln embodies a vibrant community spirit. With a Forbes Advisor score of 70, Lincoln’s rental market showcases a favorable environment for tenants, making it the top choice for renters this year.

Hampton Roads:

Behind Lincoln, NE, Chesapeake and Virginia Beach emerged as the second and third-ranked cities, respectively. Both cities have an overall score of 65, along with the five cities that follow (Raleigh, NC; Plano, TX; Gilbert, AZ; Scottsdale, AZ; Irvine, CA).

What Forbes says about Chesapeake:

“Apartment-hunters in coastal Virginia would do well to settle down in Chesapeake. The city has a very low crime rate and has the second-lowest average rent on our Top 10 list. Although Chesapeake has the smallest two-bedroom apartments in our Top 10, the low ratio of rent to income makes up for it. Rent for a two-bedroom apartment would account for 21% of the city’s median household income ($78,640).

Pet owners shouldn’t have a hard time finding a place to live since 89% of units allow pets and 20% of pet-friendly units include a pet play area. There are two dog parks per 100,000 residents, such as the Western Branch dog park with plenty of shade trees and doggie drinking fountains.

While only 45% of Chesapeake residents have access to a park within a 10-minute walk, you’ll find plenty of sun and sand at the Chesapeake Bay. Here you can swim in calm waters, cast a fishing line from the shore or a boat, take a stroll on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and enjoy plenty of nearby dining options.

If you’re planning a move to coastal Virginia, make sure you have a good hurricane plan. There have been 10 federally declared disasters for hurricanes since 1953.”

What Forbes says about Virginia Beach:

“Two-bedroom apartments in Virginia Beach have the second smallest average size among the cities in our Top 10. Still, they’re still relatively roomy, coming in at No. 31 for size out of 93 cities. Another plus: You’d spend only 23% of income on rent for a two-bedroom if you earn the median household income of $76,610.

Shop around a little to find an apartment with amenities. Thirty-seven percent of rentals have a pool and more than two-thirds have gyms (69%) and in-unit washers and dryers (68%). It will be harder to find a new or renovated kitchen in Virginia Beach: Only about 13% offer stainless steel appliances.

If you’ve got a pet in tow it won’t be a problem: 91% of rentals in Virginia Beach allow pets.

Virginia Beach’s location boasts everything from ocean views to wildlife preserves. You can get fresh air on the boardwalk or one of the city’s many hiking trails.

Be prepared for hurricanes and floods. Following a record-breaking 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, the 2021 hurricane season was above average, with 21 named storms (including seven hurricanes). Virginia Beach is trying to reduce repeated flooding by widening its beaches.”

Factors That Make Chesapeake and Virginia Beach Desirable for Renters

Both Chesapeake and Virginia Beach exhibit strong rental demand and low vacancy rates, ensuring a stable and competitive rental market. Additionally, the cities are safe, offer excellent educational institutions, and provide access to quality healthcare, making them appealing choices for families. Moreover, their proximity to major cities and well-connected transportation infrastructure allow for easy commuting and travel opportunities. The rental growth potential in these cities, coupled with favorable rental laws and regulations, provides a sense of security and long-term stability for renters.

Tips for Renters in Chesapeake and Virginia Beach If you’re considering renting in Chesapeake or Virginia Beach, here are a few tips to ensure a smooth experience:

  1. Research the rental market: Understand rental costs, market trends, and neighborhood preferences to make informed decisions.
  2. Find reliable rental listings: Utilize reputable platforms and property management companies to discover trustworthy rental options.
  3. Know your rights and responsibilities: Familiarize yourself with tenant rights and obligations in Chesapeake and Virginia Beach.
  4. Explore neighborhoods: Consider proximity to amenities, schools, and work locations to find the ideal neighborhood that suits your needs and preferences.

Two other Virginia cities made their presence felt in the top 50 rankings, with Richmond securing the 31st position and Norfolk following closely at the 40th position.


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