Select Page

The last 12 months have seen a wild ride for real estate markets across the country.

Median home prices jumped 10.77% nationwide over 2022, closing the year at \$357,319. While that sounds impressive and it is by historical standards it leaves out plenty of context.

First, even that double-digit growth rate marks a sharp fall from the lofty 19.58% appreciation in 2021. Second, it fails to capture how housing markets started 2022 with a bang and ended it with a whimper.

Meanwhile, median rents grew at a respectable 7.45% to close the year at \$1,981. But that too pales beside the 13.89% growth in 2021, as rents started losing steam in late 2022 as well.

All that said, some cities offer far better yields than others. Below you’ll find the top 280 cities in the US by population, mapped with their GRM, median rent, and median home price.

What Is GRM (Gross Rent Multiplier)

Gross rent multiplier is one of those real estate terms that sounds more complicated than it is. It’s actually one of the easiest concepts in real estate investing.

Quite simply, gross rent multiplier is the ratio between a home’s price and its gross annual rental income. Just divide the price by the gross annual rents, and you get the ratio:

GRM = Price of Property/Gross Annual Rental Income

For example, if a property costs \$150,000, and it generates gross rental income of \$15,000 per year, the GRM is 10 (\$150,000 / \$15,000 = 10). Lower is better for GRM, indicating higher rents and lower prices.

Here’s a quick GRM calculator in case you don’t love math:

Another way to think of GRM is the number of years it would take for a property to pay for itself in gross rents. If a property generates \$15,000 per year, and costs \$150,000 to buy, it would take 10 years to pay for itself. Not including expenses, that is.

Which makes an important point: GRM doesn’t include expenses the way cap rates do. That makes it a simpler — but less accurate — calculation.

Best Cities for Real Estate Investing by GRM

The following map shows the top 280 cities in the country by population:

Note that there are many smaller cities and towns in the US with better cap rates. These are simply the 280 most populous cities in the US. I used these because Zillow makes this data easily available.

We’re finally starting to see GRMs starting to ease down slightly, and cap rates starting to tick up. While home prices shot upward in the pandemic and rents held steady during the eviction moratorium, rents have since leapt to catch up to soaring home prices. Rising interest rates may cool prices in the hottest real estate markets, even as rents keep soaring.

All of which is good news for real estate investors and landlords.

If you want to invest in real estate long-distance, consider buying turnkey properties through a platform like Roofstock. The majority of the investors there buy the properties sight-unseen, and feel comfortable doing so given the massive amount of third-party data provided with each listing.

We update this map every quarter, to keep you informed about the best cities for real estate investing.

More Maps for Gits & Shiggles

If you couldn’t tell, I love interactive maps.

Here are some useful and relevant maps for real estate investors looking for the perfect place to invest.

Top 100 Fastest Appreciating Cities in the US

Where are home prices rising the fastest?

Most of these are either smaller cities or towns, or satellite towns near larger metropolitan areas.

Remember, past performance does not indicate future results, yada yada yada. But it does indicate faster demand growth in these cities than anywhere else in the country.

(article continues below)

Want to compare investment property loans?

What short-term fix-and-flip loan options are available nowadays?

How about long-term rental property loans?

We compare several buy-and-rehab lenders and several long-term landlord loans on LTV, interest rates, closing costs, income requirements and more.

Property Taxes by County

Property taxes aren’t your only ongoing expense as a real estate investor, but they can impact your bottom line. Especially in areas with other high taxes (like income taxes and sales taxes), and especially in states where more Americans are moving out than moving in. See our data analysis comparing total state tax burden with US migration patterns.

Final Word

Gross rent multiplier doesn’t tell you the whole story about the best places to invest in real estate. No one data point can.

But GRM does help you find cities with relatively higher rents and lower home prices. It can help you identify promising cities to start your hunt for ideal neighborhoods and stellar deals on rental properties.

Check back frequently, as we continue updating this interactive map and data set!

Where are you currently investing in rental properties? How did you choose those cities?

5 Fundamentals of FIRE from Real Estate

G. Brian Davis is a landlord, real estate investor, and co-founder of SparkRental. His mission: to help 5,000 people reach financial independence by replacing their 9-5 jobs with rental income. If you want to be one of them, join Brian, Deni, and guest Scott Hoefler for a free masterclass on how Scott ditched his day job in under five years.

FREE Webinar: Open \$250K in Credit Lines for Investing

On Wed. 3/23/22 at 2pm & 8pm EST, Deni & Brian are hosting Fund&Grow for a free webinar to show you how to open up to \$250,000 in unsecured business credit lines for real estate investing.

Free Background Check

Run a FREE housing & identity check!

Credit, criminal, eviction reports also available.

Want to create passive income?

We’ll email a series of videos in our free course,

Privacy Policy: Your info will never be shared or sold to a 3rd party. Even if Dr. Evil offers us 1 million dollars 🙂

Want to earn more from your rentals?

Download our free Ultimate Guide to Higher ROI and be dazzled by the charming wit, disarming frogs and invaluable tips for higher profits and less work.

Free Mini-Course: Passive Income from 2-4 Unit Multifamilies

Ready to build passive income from small multifamily properties?

Over the next week, we'll email you a free series of videos, so enter your best email and let's get started!

You're in! Check your email to confirm, and you can email us directly at [email protected] with any questions :-)

Free Webinar: Earn 15-50% on Passive Real Estate Syndications

LIVE masterclass on Tues. 10/25 @ 8pm EST

We'll email you the "recipe," plus a free mini-course on passive income over the next week, so enter your best email!

P.S. We never share your email, ever.

It's on! Check your email to confirm.

We'll email you the course videos over the next week, so enter your best email!

Ditch Your Day Job: Free 8-Video Course

Our brand new course on how to reach financial independence and retire early (FIRE) with rental properties is open for one week from Oct. 23-30!

Data Inbound!

Not only do you get the latest data on the rent-to-price ratios in the US, but we'll also send you our free video course on replacing your 9-5 salary with passive income. How's that sound?