In a recent StorageCafe study, cities across the U.S. were ranked by how much they had attracted new renters in 2021, as a proportion of their populations. Arizona made a strong showing, with Tempe in the top 10 and Scottsdale in the top 20. For every renter who chose to leave town, Tempe saw almost double the number arriving while Scottsdale saw slightly more than double.
Tempe received most of its new renters from Phoenix itself, and they would have increased their average apartment size by about 10% from 798 to 877 square feet. Arrivals from nearby places like Chandler and Gilbert, however, would have found that their average apartment sizes had decreased a little, but Tempe self storage is on hand to maximize residents’ living space.
In addition, Glendale landed the no. 53 spot in the ranking and Mesa and Phoenix are just a few ranking positions further away. The state’s capital saw an influx of renters that was almost twice the number who were looking to leave, while Peoria and Chandler, also with positive net migration, contribute to a strong overall showing by the PHX Metroplex.
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In terms of renters migrating from out of state, Arizona’s top cities proved to be even more attractive. In this new list, Scottsdale scores 6th place, with 4.2 renters seeking to move there to every one who was leaving, and Tempe was in 13th place, with 3.2 arriving to every person looking to leave. Glendale also raises its position to 34th place, with three times as many renters arriving as leaving, demonstrating that The Valley of Sun has enduring popularity for people moving into Arizona.
Renters coming from outside Arizona are quite likely to improve their apartment sizes. For example, anyone arriving from Chicago — which is frequently a city of origin of new Arizonans — will see an average apartment size increase of 30% in Scottsdale, to 943 square feet, and of 35% in Gilbert, to 977 square feet. LA is another city that new Arizonan renters commonly come from, and Angelenos would also increase their living space, from an average of 764 square feet.
Meanwhile, Tucson, the only AZ city outside the Phoenix metropolitan area large enough to make the ranking, saw a negative net migration of renters during 2021, with a third more leaving as arriving. The great majority of renters leaving Tucson are in fact heading for PHX, while their most commonly seen out-of-state destinations were Las Vegas, Denver and Chicago. Most would be increasing their apartment size from 763 square feet.
In general, millennials are the generation most often on the move across the nation. This is also broadly true in Arizona, with this age group being represented by between 43%-46% of incoming renters in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Gilbert, Glendale and Chandler, for example. In Tucson, however, a younger demographic is being welcomed, as Gen Z makes up 32.3% of the incomers, making The Old Pueblo the only AZ city where they exceed the millennials in this respect.
The economic challenges of owning a home mean that younger generations are renting more these days. And with working from home having become a trending lifestyle option, they have a wider choice of where to live if they are not shackled to a commute. Arizona clearly has some very attractive places for them to move to. In fact, the state overall saw 37% more renters arriving than leaving last year, in stark contrast to states such as New York and California which saw negative net migration. And with millennials and Gen Zers combined making up about 68% of the incomers, the Grand Canyon State is increasing its experienced workforce in a way that bodes well for the future.