Las Vegas among cheapest US cities for home rentals

Still recovering from the housing bust, Las Vegas is the second-most affordable big city in the country for home renters, a new ranking says.

Kiplinger, a financial news publisher, said the valley has the largest renter population and rental vacancy rate and the highest income among renters of the 10 markets listed in its report.

Top US cities for affordable house rentals

1. Raleigh, N.C.

2. Las Vegas

3. Dallas

4. Tulsa, Okla.

5. Birmingham, Ala.

6. Austin, Texas

7. Memphis, Tenn.

8. Dayton, Ohio

9. Omaha, Neb.

10. Richmond, Va.

Local builders also are leasing more luxury apartments to residents who Kiplinger said are “more confident in the economy and their job security.”

Valley renters boast a median household income of $40,400. And while the rental vacancy rate is almost 14 percent, some 43 percent of local households are occupied by renters, according to Kiplinger.

When Las Vegas’ housing market crashed, investors took advantage of the downturn and started buying cheap homes in bulk to turn into rentals. Some large investment firms, however, now are paring down on local purchases as it becomes tougher to book big profits on new deals.

Home prices have skyrocketed, the rental market is softening amid increased inventory and home values are expected to cool down in the coming months.

Kiplinger ranked Raleigh, N.C., as the best big city for renters because of its basement-low rents ($640 per month on average), affordable cost of living (7.4 percent below the national average) and renters’ above-average income ($34,567 per household).

By comparison, Las Vegas’ average monthly rent is $776 and its cost of living is 0.1 percent below the national average.