As rent growth reaches untenable levels in some of America’s most populous and popular cities, renters are turning their sights to nearby satellite cities with similar amenities and lower housing prices.

According to a Zumper rental market analysis released Thursday, Oakland, California; Scottsdale, Arizona; and St. Paul, Minnesota, are experiencing higher levels of renter demand than their nearby, more expensive neighbors.

In 2019, Oakland renter demand increased a whopping 62 percent as renters from San Francisco crossed the bay to find cheaper housing. San Francisco’s one-bedroom median rent soared to $3,603 in 2019 — $1,237 more than Oakland’s median rent prices.

The satellite cities of Scottsdale and St. Paul also managed to outshine their counterparts, Phoenix and Minneapolis.

Over the past year, renter demand increased 62 percent in Scottsdale despite the median rent ($1,394) surpassing Phoenix by $405. However, Zumper said a strong jobs market and an overall more affordable cost of living helped Scottsdale get the edge.

Lastly, renter demand in St. Paul increased 33 percent year-over-year, 12 percent higher than Minneapolis. Much like Scottsdale, a robust jobs market and a cheaper cost of living ($1,315 vs. $1,393) pushed St. Paul ahead of its twin city.

While Oakland, Scottsdale, and St. Paul over-performed, Fort Worth, Texas; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and Kansas City, Kansas still lagged behind.

Renter demand growth in Fort Worth was one percent shy of Dallas (34 percent), as plenty of millennials are still flocking to the Dallas area where rents are affordable and annual median incomes top $57,000. Fort Lauderdale (18 percent) was only 4 percent behind Tampa (22 percent) as both cities offer similar amenities, costs of living and access to world-class universities.

On the other hand, Kansas City, Kansas’s renter demand lagged behind Kansas City, Missouri by 19 percent, as lower income and sales taxes attract renters looking to save a few extra bucks.

Email Marian McPherson

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