Rents in the 'Burbs Outpacing Urban Rents: Should You Invest?

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Investing in the ‘burbs

There are lots of reasons for the move toward the suburbs, but work-from-home policies have a lot to do with it. With many people working remotely (sometimes at the same time as their spouse or virtually schooled children), space is at a premium these days. For renters, that often means moving out of smaller, urban units and into larger rentals (many times, this means single-family homes), where they can get more bang for their buck.

Whatever the reason, the trend offers an opportunity for investors. And according to Zumper’s data, venturing outside the big city can come with a big payoff.

For example, in Racine County, Wisconsin, home to Milwaukee’s suburbs, rents are up a whopping 84.8% over the year. And in Clark County, Indiana, where Louisville’s suburbs are located, it’s a 59.3% increase.

Some other suburban and rural markets that have seen significant year-over-year rent growth include:

  • Ozaukee County, Wisconsin (55.9%)
  • Saratoga County, New York (42.1%)
  • Hampton City, Virginia (39.9%)
  • Davis County, Utah (35.8%)
  • Gloucester County, New Jersey (34.9%)
  • Elkhart County, Indiana (34.3%)
  • Shelby County, Alabama (33%)

The only large central metros to see major rent growth were Wayne County, Michigan (Detroit), with a 22% increase; and Marion County, Indiana (Indianapolis), with a 21.7% increase.

The bottom line

Clearly, there’s opportunity here for investors to seize on the suburban trend. The problem may be finding properties to buy in these high-growth areas. With inventory at record lows (total listings are down 54% over the year, according to, competition is stiff in most markets, and homes are selling faster than ever.

Your best bet for investing in these markets is to come prepared. Get preapproved for your mortgage, have a good real estate agent on your side, and be ready to act fast. Making a cash offer can also give you a leg up on the competition.