Santa Ana Rated 4th Worst U.S. City for Renters

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Do you suppose city and chamber officials would mind if "Welcome to Santa Ana" signs included in small tape "the fourth worst place in America to be a renter?"

That dubious distinction comes from a study titled "Rental Bang for Your Buck," which names the five best and five worst U.S. cities for tenants.

It was compiled by a Zillow.com team led by economist Svenja Gudell and broken down in slideshow form by TheStreet.com.

Rental markets were ranked in the 100 most-populous U.S. cities based on:

  • Median asking prices per square foot for all rentals advertised on Zillow.com.
  • Estimated rental value of a typical residence within a given city (including owner-occupied properties not available for rent)
  • How much each community's median rental value has increased or decreased over the past 12 months
  • Each market's "break-even period," an estimate of how many years of homeownership it takes before buying a place that costs less than renting

Santa Ana is sandwiched between fifth-worst Boston and third-worst Minneapolis.

Fourth-worst market for renters: Santa Ana, Calif.
Bang for Your Buck score: 26.92
The typical property in this community some 30 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles carries a $2,179-a-month rental value, the 11th-highest among America's largest cities. Santa Ana's rental values are also growing at 4.21% a year, or more than twice the U.S. norm. Similarly, the median Santa Ana rental lists for $1.68 a square foot, well above the $1.02 typical nationwide. "Santa Ana is an expensive market for renters," Gudell says. The 329,000-population community also has a 2.76-year break-even period for buying vs. renting. That's below the U.S. median -- bad news for tenants.

Numbers one and two at being worst are in Flordia, Miami and Hialeah respectively.

The best cities for renters, according to Zillow, are:

1. St. Louis
2. Fayetteville, N.C.
3. Virginia Beach, Va.
4. El Paso, Texas
5. Knoxville, Tenn.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!



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