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How To Get An Affordable Apartment In The Hottest Cities Heading Into 2017

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These 10 on-the-rise metros might be just what you’re looking for in cost-effective, quality living for the new year.

Looking to move to a city with growth potential? It might not be where you think. Trulia has compiled a list of the top 10 real estate markets poised for growth in 2017 based on five key metrics including high affordability, strong job growth, low vacancy rates, home searches on Trulia, and, because of the 2016 election’s outcome, a big population of Republicans. Half of the cities are located in Florida, so it might be a great time to fly south for the winter (and beyond!), with the other cities being scattered throughout the Midwest, South, and Southwest.

Here’s what local real estate experts have to say about the 10 markets Trulia predicts are poised for major growth. Take a cue from the rapid rise of previously trending cities like San Francisco, CA, and New York, NY, and jump on these areas while they’re hot.

1. Jacksonville, FL: Consider location, location, location

Jacksonville, FL, tops the list with a strong lead in two categories. Positioned at the northeastern tip of the state, Florida’s most populous city ranks sixth in the nation in job growth and in its ratio of home searches on Trulia by out-of-towners than outbound searches by locals looking to leave. Real estate agent Michael Paull says location is everything — and a central location like Canopy Creek Apartments, pictured above, is renting fast. “The great thing about Jacksonville is the year-round temperate climate,” says Paull. As for affordability, he advises looking in town for more conservatively priced housing. “If you’re an upwardly mobile professional looking to be around nightlife and shopping, the St. Johns Town Center is a great option.”

2. Fort Myers, FL: Think smaller

Tourism is booming in this gorgeous and serene enclave at the entrance to the Southwest Florida region. High job growth, thanks in large part to the tourism industry, and a sharp drop in vacancy rates in the past year make Fort Myers, FL, second on the list. However, Cape Coral-Fort Myers lags in affordability — the city’s median rent is $1,600 — so you’ll have to be smart about where you apartment-hunt. As with any popular beach destination, away from the water and the more tourist-heavy areas will mean more affordable, year-round rates. It’s possible to find a nice apartment with great amenities (plus nearby shopping and beaches), though: Brantley Pines Apartments in Fort Myers, starting at $875 for a one-bedroom, is proof.

3. Daytona Beach, FL: Be ready for some competition

This area, dubbed the “Fun Coast” region, ranks third on Trulia’s list because of its strength in two categories — it has a very high inbound-to-outbound home-search ratio and strong job growth (ranks third in both categories). New apartments are in the works, but right now, demand seems to outpace supply — which means it’s worth putting in some time to make sure you’re an attractive tenant. (Might be time to work on that credit score!)

4. Grand Rapids, MI: Get your paperwork together

The second-largest city in its state, Grand Rapids, MI, is seeing some major growth. Real estate agent John Cremer says it’s been increasingly challenging to find a rental for the past three years — the real estate market has made gains so quickly that sellers have been able to unload properties they were holding on to in 2008 and 2009. In a competitive market like this one, timing is important. Make sure you’ve got your paperwork ready to go, can write a check for a deposit and last month’s rent on the spot, and have your references at the ready.

5. Tampa, FL: Hit the streets in St. Pete

Tampa, FL, has asserted itself over the last decade as a major business center, with finance, retail, and health care playing vital roles in the area’s economy. According to the Tampa Bay Business Journal, the city’s job growth ranks second in the state year-over-year, with a 3.4% increase in 2016. Alongside the influx of young professionals, downtown Tampa has followed the national trend of urban residential development, with many high-rises and apartment complexes nearing completion after being stalled during the housing slump. An affordable studio or one-bedroom apartment for rent in nearby St. Petersburg, FL is much easier to find. You’ll still be close to the action in Tampa, but if you settle in at a place like Tortuga Pointe, you’ll also get designer details, a fitness center and pool, and a pet-friendly space for less than Tampa’s median rent.

6. Colorado Springs, CO: Rent like a college student

Only an hour away from Denver, CO, sits up-and-coming Colorado Springs, CO. The second-largest city in the state is an excellent option for those looking for a low cost of living and low unemployment rates. Nationally renowned colleges draw an academic crowd, while the military bases bring a steady flow of servicemen and servicewomen. Rents are on the rise here, but it’s still possible to find an apartment for less than the city’s median rent ($1,425) — especially if you’re looking for a one- or two-bedroom place like these Commons at Briargate apartments. Pro tip: Apartments near college campuses tend to have higher turnover rates; that’s a good place to start looking for a rental.

7. Charleston, SC: Try a short-term lease

If you’re looking to rent in charming Charleston, SC, you’d better be ready to take fast action when you find a place you like! According to real estate agent Kim Boerman, you’re in competition with the 43 people who move to Charleston every day. “The prices for rentals are very high,” says Boerman. She cites a one-bedroom apartment in historic downtown Charleston renting for $1,600 per month. Boerman’s best tip? Avoid a yearlong commitment if you can. “If you’re not sure where to live, best to rent for six months rather than a year,” says Boerman. Traffic and geography can make Charleston a challenging place to live. You might score a great apartment like these at Cooper River Farms Apartments, but if you have to drive to one of the barrier islands for work, you might wish you had a shorter commute.

8. San Antonio, TX: Don’t assume newer is better

Real estate agent Tami Price is no stranger to apartment hunting in a competitive rental market. She visited 20 complexes in San Antonio, TX, this past summer looking for a three-bedroom unit before finally lucking out. Developers can barely keep up with the demand in this fast-growing city. As a result, rents tend to be pretty high — a median price of $1,375 — but there are more affordable options, like Veranda Apartments, which starts at $710 for a one-bedroom. And Price points out you won’t be skimping on the amenities if you choose apartment life over a home purchase. “Property managers and developers realize they’ve hit a gold mine and people will pay rent to be in a nice unit,” says Price. “They cater to you in these new complexes — community amenities, an elaborate pool, and stainless steel appliances.” For a better chance at snagging a deal, Price recommends looking outside Loop 410 and inside Loop 1604 (San Antonian–speak for the areas demarcated by the interstate highways) for buildings that might be a little older and more affordable.

9. Phoenix, AZ: Spread out in the suburbs

Year-round sun and warm temperatures give Arizona’s largest city quite the edge. In central Phoenix, AZ, commercial development has gone hand in hand with residential. An influx of new shops and hip restaurants has spurred the development of multifamily homes, making the central area, from Seventh Street to downtown, an excellent — and trendy — option for those looking to rent. For a more affordable option, consider North Scottsdale, AZ, where Alta Paradise Ridge offers expansive floor plans and amenities like a resort-style pool and state-of-the-art fitness center.

10. Sarasota, FL: Head to the mall

Closing out the list is one more Florida enclave nestled just below St. Petersburg along the Gulf Coast. The original winter home of the Ringling Brothers Circus, Sarasota, FL, is known for its arts and culture scene. For more affordable apartment living, real estate agent Shayla Twit recommends heading north to Bradenton, FL, or to the area around the new Mall at University Town Center, like the newly renovated Gateway Lakes. “The area around the mall has seen a lot of recent construction and is starting to function as a secondary downtown,” she says.

Which of these affordable apartments for rent in 2017’s hottest cities caught your attention? Share your pick in the comments!