Top Cities Where Downtown Living Is Making A Comeback

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Cities across the county are trying to figure out how to get people back to their downtowns, but instead of luring them back to the office, they’re trying to make city centers more attractive places to live.

To provide a premier downtown living experience, cities must provide a balance between amenities and the cost to live there, as well as a variety of housing options, safety and initiatives supporting sustainability.

Southern cities that have seen a flurry of in-migration in the last few years claim nearly half of the top 10 best places for downtown living, including three in Texas, according to a recent StorageCafe report.

Leading America’s downtown living scene is Dallas, Texas, which is hard to rival in terms of appeal for both residents and new businesses. The cities following Dallas in terms of living experience are Austin, Texas; Boston, Massachusetts; Seattle, Washington; Nashville, Tennessee; Houston, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; San Diego, California; and Phoenix, Arizona.

The report found that Houston has the most affordable downtown based on its 22% rent-to-income ratio — considerably below the 30% threshold. Nashville has the best supply of housing options as well as the liveliest downtown entertainment scene owing to its concentration of theaters, restaurants and other venues.

“Many cities have made good strides toward creating inclusive urban environments with livability and sustainability key in achieving future-ready status,” Yardi Matrix Business Intelligence Manager Doug Ressler said. “Downtown areas across the country have seen intensified multifamily construction as more people seek walkability and better connectivity in their neighborhoods’ Southern hubs — which have been on migration radars for over a decade now — have had their central areas enhanced and reinvented to respond to current resident needs.”

Many developers are integrating eco-friendly amenities into urban apartments because of the growing interest in sustainability.

The downtowns with the most apartments in green buildings are:

  • Austin, 47%
  • Boston, 25%
  • Chicago, Illinois, 23%
  • Denver, Colorado, 22%
  • Seattle, 21%
  • Portland, Oregon, 19%
  • Baltimore, Maryland, 13%
  • Washington, D.C., 13%
  • San Diego, 13%
  • Nashville, 12%

StorageCafe ranked the 20 most populous cities’ central areas against a variety of factors, including the cost of living, rental inventory, apartment amenities abundance, safety, restaurants and cultural and shopping options. It also included self-storage in its analysis because it’s a service frequently used by apartment dwellers seeking to maximize living space.

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