Everything You Need to Know About Living in Philadelphia, PA

We found out everything you wanted to know about the makes the City of Brotherly Love so great to live in from the people that call it home. Download our Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to review all of the details.

Philadelphia, PA: Fast Facts

Philadelphia is the 5th most populous city in the US and the 49th most populous city in the world. It’s also known as Philly and the City of Brotherly Love.

Philadelphia is an iconic American city because of its role in the American Revolution. As the starting point and where the Declaration of Independence was signed, Philly has a rich history in America’s early days.

Philadelphia is a great city that I believe is going to continue to grow into something even more. There is something for everyone here whether you’re single, married, introvert, extrovert, etc. The pace is nowhere near as fast as New York, but you definitely can keep yourself busy, entertained and occupied if you want. The sports scene is incredible; we really have the most passionate fans in the country. You can really live the kind of life you want to live here in Philadelphia.

Marcus W.

Philadelphia Neighborhoods

Chestnut Hill: Tucked away in extreme northwest Philadelphia, Chestnut Hill began its life as a popular get-away spot for the Center City elite during the Revolutionary War, thanks to its bucolic beauty and cooler summer temperatures due to its higher elevation. Today, the high-end neighborhood is quiet along its residential streets filled with Victorian townhomes and historic mansions but bustles with activity along cobblestoned Germantown Avenue. The quaint yet trendy main street is lined with boutiques, brewpubs, bakeries, and restaurants like Mica, CinCin, and Cake, many with outdoor seating to take advantage of beautiful spring and fall Philadelphia weather. Even though its namesake chestnut trees are nearly extinct, the area is known as Philly’s garden district, and is home to the Philadelphia Cricket Club, the oldest country club in the nation. For the rest of us, Chestnut Hill is adjacent to sprawling 2,000-acre Wissahickon Valley Park, with 50 miles of walking, hiking, and biking trail.

Main Line: Following the former Pennsylvania Railroad’s suburban easement, the Main Line is a series of 20 or so interconnected upscale towns northwest of the city along the borders of Montgomery, Delaware, and Chester Counties. Among the best suburbs of Philadelphia, some of the wealthiest communities in the nation dot the Main Line, including estate towns Lower Merion, Devon, Malvern, and Gladwyne, and a dozen university communities like Haverford, Villanova, and Bryn Mawr. The old money suburbs feature a number of world-renowned golf clubs such as Aronimink, Merion, and the 130-year old Philadelphia Country Club. The area is also home to the Devon Horse Show, the oldest and largest horse competition in America.

Rittenhouse Square (Center City): In Center City, Philadelphia’s downtown area, Rittenhouse Square is one of the most beloved and fashionable regions of Philly. Named for one of the original five public squares as laid out by William Penn for his “greene country towne,” Rittenhouse today is a land of upscale high-rise condos and apartments towering over the historic park. Its cost of living is also among the highest in Philadelphia. Each day, dog walkers, artists, the after-work crowd, and young couples populate the park, lunching on benches and strolling the streets.

Conshohocken (Montgomery County Suburb): This Montgomery County enclave is a suburban hotspot for both tech business and young professionals working in the surrounding communities. Over the last decade, “Conshy” has boomed with suburban-chic and cosmopolitan residential housing and mid-priced high-rise rental towers, mostly thanks to its location as a transportation center. A number of these buildings hug the river, along with the Conshohocken Rowing Center and Riverside Dog Park. The borough’s restaurant and bar scene revolves around the Fayette Street corridor

Fishtown: If you’ve watched the new AMC network program “Dispatches from Elsewhere,” you’ve seen a lot of the quirky and public-art-focused neighborhood of Fishtown. The neighborhood got its name from the proliferation of fishermen who populated the area throughout its early history. In recent years, it’s been booming as a trendy arts, culture, foodie, and entertainment community along the Delaware River in North Philadelphia, and rental and home costs have risen along with demand.

Northern Liberties: When William Penn laid out his plan for Philadelphia, he set aside the area north of Vine Street as “liberty land,” free lots granted to landowners down in the city. Thus, Penn created the first suburb. The region was a home for mills, factories, foundries, and breweries in the 1800s, but today it thrives as one of the most popular redeveloped Philadelphia neighborhoods, with rising home and rental prices. The focal point of “NoLibs” is the new Piazza Pod Park, a 35,000-square-foot dog-friendly outdoor oasis featuring a dozen food and drink vendors and retailers tucked inside recycled shipping containers — all surrounding an inviting play and seating area.

University City: Across the river from Center City in West Philly, University City is the neighborhood that surrounds the interconnected campuses of the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, and the University of the Sciences. The district along the Schuylkill is an education and commercial hub which is quickly becoming a second downtown, with skyscrapers like Cira Center, Cira Center South, and the FMC Building all springing up since 2000. The region continues to grow, chiefly with the under-construction 14-acre Schuylkill Yards, a massive multi-tower and public space redevelopment project, and Station Plaza, a $6.5 billion open space development around Amtrak’s historic 30th Street Station. Home and rental prices range from affordable off-campus student housing to new construction luxury high-rise apartments and condos. And every Friday at noon, non-commercial radio powerhouse WXPN presents a free public concert featuring national touring acts at the beautiful World Café Live music venue.

Old City: Independence Hall. The Liberty Bell. Betsy Ross House. One can’t help but breathe in the history as you walk the streets of Old City, where some of America’s greatest figures once lived — from William Penn to Ben Franklin to George Washington. The neighborhood where the Quakers first settled and the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were adopted is also a modern, vibrant district, and one of the safest neighborhoods in Philadelphia. For the most unique but pricey living experience, try to snag an available unit along Eltfreth’s Alley, the oldest continuously-occupied residential street in North America.

Passyunk Square: You may not have heard of South Philadelphia’s Passyunk Square, but you certainly know its two most famous locations. Sitting across the corner from each other at the diagonal intersection at South 9th Street and East Passyunk Avenue are two rival restaurants, Pat’s King of Steaks and Geno’s Steaks. Pat’s, as any good Philadelphian can tell you, is where the steak sandwich was invented in 1933 (the cheese was added to create the cheesesteak a decade later at Pat’s old Ridge Avenue location). In 1966, Geno’s opened up right across the pointed intersection and an historic cheesesteak rivalry was born. But that’s not the only food game in Passyunk. Along 9th Street lies the southern end of the Italian Market, the renowned curb market made world famous when Sylvester Stallone galloped through in “Rocky.” The Market is famous for its blocks of awning-covered sidewalk stalls of grocers and butchers, fishmongers and fromagers, coffee purveyors and chocolatiers. South of Washington Avenue, the market has expanded to include exciting international cafes and restaurants.

Society Hill: Society Hill’s haughty name originates from the Free Society of Traders, a league of elite business and cultural leaders steering the future of 17th century Philadelphia. Today, the Center City neighborhood is a collection of historic Georgian rowhomes along brick sidewalks and cobblestone streets lit with Franklin lamps. Sitting in the backyard of Old City’s Independence Hall and Liberty Bell, Society Hill is one of the most expensive Philadelphia neighborhoods and has one of the city’s lowest crime rates. In addition to all those historic buildings and important locales once frequented by our Founding Fathers, Society Hill offers a bevy of modern entertainment and nightlife destinations.

Langhorne: When looking for a great place in the suburbs for a family to live, where better than the home of Sesame Place? The young children’s theme park is a unique focal point of this lovely suburb. More important, area public schools are solidly rated by GreatSchools.org. Langhorne, both the dual boroughs and greater Middletown Township collectively referred to as Langhorne, is an important business and retail center in the charming mid-range family destination of Bucks County. The borough along Neshaminy Creek itself offers a quaint Historic District with 19th-century homes and buildings to explore, as well as a number of shops and restaurants along Pine Street and Maple Avenue. Family-friendly attractions lie throughout the township.

Levittown: At the end of World War II, Long Island’s Levittown planned suburban community became both the subject of fascination and the blueprint for the typical post-war commuter suburb. Just after its completion, Levitt & Sons turned its attention to Bucks County, PA, to construct its second Levittown, a community filled with uniform, assembly-line prefab housing and military base-style convenience to schools, groceries, and parks. With it, the Levitts invented the modern suburb, a place for middle-class families outside of the city centers centered on America’s new car commute culture.

New Hope: Thirty miles north of Philadelphia in bucolic Bucks County, New Hope is a community of many diversions, as well as highly rated schools. For all it offers, home and rental property prices are higher than most of Philly’s suburbs, even for attractive Bucks County. Among its diverse attractions, New Hope is known as a: 

  • Ferry village along the Delaware River known for canoeing and kayaking
  • Hotspot for motorcycle enthusiasts who cruise Main Street en masse on summer weekends
  • Colony for world-renowned impressionist and experimental visual artists
  • Popular resort retreat for the LGBT community
  • Family destination with attractions like the Bucks County Children’s Museum, Bucks County Playhouse, and rides on the antique New Hope & Ivyland Railroad

Overbrook: If all you know about Overbrook is that it’s the home of basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain, that’s a good start. It’s also home to another famous star — Will Smith, who spent most of his days on the courts at Tustin Playground. The suburban-style West Philadelphia neighborhood is one of the most desirable and reasonably priced upper-middle to middle-class family residential spots in the city. The district came of age in the early 1900s as one of the first outlying areas city folks escaped to once trolley lines were installed, and it boomed through the 1960s. This allowed for a range of styles of affordable housing to spring up over time, from spacious row houses to low-rise apartment buildings and semi-detached “twins,” more commonly known as duplexes in other parts of the country. The family focal point of the neighborhood is the century-old Overbrook High School, which counts Chamberlain and Smith among its alumni, along with many other hoop and hip-hop stars. Overbrook serves as the West Philly gateway to the Main Line across City Avenue, with its commercial corridor along U.S. 30/Lancaster Avenue and a large green space in Morris Park.

Valley Forge & King of Prussia: Twenty-five miles northwest of Philadelphia, Valley Forge is an affordable, pastoral hamlet famous for George Washington’s encampment. While the village proper of Valley Forge is relatively small, it’s part of the Schuylkill Township and a larger area that’s also commonly identified as Valley Forge. This includes communities like King of Prussia, home to the Valley Forge Casino Resort, the King of Prussia Mall (America’s largest, by retail space), and Oaks, site of the Greater Philadelphia Convention Center. These landmarks contribute to the area’s ranking as the third largest employment center in the Philly area. While Valley Forge National Historic Park attracts tourists, new planned housing and mixed-use developments like the Village at Valley Forge are luring residents to the area. Developers built a main street and King of Prussia Town Center from the ground up, featuring a 24-hour Wegmans grocery, LA Fitness, and REI to go along with the many walking and biking trails. 

Doing Business in Philadelphia

Philadelphia is the eighth largest US metropolitan economy. Many large corporations are headquartered in the area because of its close proximity to other large metro areas.

Key Industries: Bio-science, Financial Services, Tourism

Major Employers: University of Pennsylvania and Health System, Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, ACCU Staffing, Comcast Corp.

Originally born and grew up in a small town in western KS, living then in OKC, Cambridge, MA, Philadelphia, NYC, Wichita and now Kansas City area, I considered my twenty years in Philadelphia the best! I called it my soul city. I found people to be genuinely good, caring and friendly overall. I happened to find out a few years ago that my many times great grandfather Swede, sold the family farm to Wm Penn and when living in Center City, I was walking around the family farm. No wonder I call it my soul city. I love Philly forever!

Ronald R.

Cost of Living in Philadelphia

While Philadelphia is much more affordable than other large US cities, its housing expenses are 30% higher than the national average and the utility prices are 25% higher than the national average.

In Philadelphia, the median rent is $965 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,118 for a two-bedroom. Rents have dropped sharply by 6,2% in comparison to the same time last year. Renters will find more reasonable prices in Philadelphia than most other large cities. For example, San Francisco has a median 2BR rent of $2,322, which is more than twice the price in Philadelphia

What Philadelphia Renters Want– Here are the top things tenants report looking for in a property:

  • In-unit laundry facilities
  • Air conditioning
  • Parking
  • Dishwasher
  • Hardwood floors
  • Balcony 
  • Dog and cat friendly
  • Pool
  • Gym

It’s a really awesome and underrated city, for all the reasons others listed here. The amount of rent you pay for centrally located and decently sized space here relative to other big cities is incredible. Philly is hugely more livable than a place like NYC or SF. You have virtually the same access to restaurants and culture and bars without nearly as much downside.

Karl U.

Arts, Recreation, and Entertainment in Philsdelphia

Philadelphia’s historic district is full of stories and sights. 

  • One of the most iconic symbols in U.S. history, the 2,080-pound Liberty Bell stands proudly on Independence Mall. 
  • Independence Hall is the centerpiece of the renowned Independence National Historical Park. In 1776, the Founding Fathers came together to sign the Declaration of Independence in this historic building. Eleven years later, representatives from a dozen states met here to lay the framework for the US Constitution.
  • Presidents George Washington and John Adams each lived at 6th and Market streets during their tenures as president. While the original President’s House has since been demolished, the foundation remains  and now serves as part of an outdoor museum where looped videos give a special focus to the lives of the nine enslaved men and women who lived and worked here during Washington’s time in office.
  • Independence National Historical Park, also known as America’s most historic square mile, is a must-see to learn more about America’s origins. 
  • At the National Constitution Center museum-goers can explore exhibits and artifacts, view an original Bill of Rights, walk among 42 life-size bronze statues of the delegates who attended the Constitutional Convention in 1787, and learn more about the amendments to the Constitution that ended slavery and granted the right to vote to Black men and some women. 

The Philadelphia region is blooming with lively urban parks, re-imagined recreational landscapes, spirited pop-up gardens and scenic running and biking trails. From the massive trail systems of Fairmount Park and Wissahickon Valley Park to the delightful riverside enclaves of the seasonal Spruce Street Harbor Park and Race Street Pier to regional attractions like Longwood Gardens and Valley Forge National Historical Park, residents and visitors enjoy relaxing, exercising and playing in these public spaces. 

Philadelphia is one of just a few cities with a professional franchise in five major league sports. Most of Philadelphia’s pro teams play a few miles south of Center City, either at the Wells Fargo Center (76ers basketball and Flyers ice hockey), Lincoln Financial Field (Eagles football) or Citizens Bank Park (Phillies baseball). The Philadelphia Union soccer team plays at Subaru Park in Chester, Pennsylvania, just outside of Philadelphia. 

Renowned for its live music scene, Philadelphia’s vibrant rock, rap, jazz and pop venues located in neighborhoods all across the city showcase the world’s most buzzed-about musicians. That’s not to mention the city’s renowned classical groups, which includes The Philadelphia Orchestra, one of the world’s greatest classical music organizations and one of the most prolific recording acts in history. The Avenue of the Arts, also known as Broad Street, features many of the city’s premier theater and dance venues, while small, intimate spaces devoted to experimental ventures specialize in everything from avant-garde to musicals, recent hit plays to original scripts, and classics to children’s theater. With dozens of professional dance companies and a number of excellent venues, Philadelphia boasts an internationally renowned modern dance company, a fabulous ballet troupe, and African, hip-hop, tap, salsa, Flamenco and postmodern ensembles.

Read the full research report: Philadelphia, PA. We interviewed the people that live there to find out what makes their city special. Stay tuned for more city research.


Everything You Need to Know About Living in Tampa, Florida

Living everything you wanted to know about the makes the Cigar City so great to live in from the people that call it home. Download our Tampa, Florida to review all of the details.

Tampa, FL: Fast Facts

Tampa is the 48th most-populous city in the US and the second-largest city (by area) in Florida after Miami and Jacksonville. Located in the West Coast of Florida, Tampa is about an hour-and-a-half drive east to Orlando; Jacksonville is about two-and-a-half hours to the northeast; Miami is about four hours to the southeast; and Florida’s capital, Tallahassee, is about four-and-a-half hours to the north.

Experiencing a population growth of 20% between 2010 and 2019, the Tampa region is one of the fastest-growing in the USA, and has been in the top 20 fastest-growing major metro in the country. Nearly 150 people more to the Tampa everyday.

The city of Tampa’s culture is very ethnically diverse with a strong Latino flavor. One of Tampa’s earliest neighborhoods, Ybor City, was founded by immigrant cigar manufacturers from Cuba. They are home to individuals hailing from over 130 nationalities, running the gamut from Irish to Puerto Rican to Indian to Vietnamese.

People from Tampa are referred to as “Tampeños”.

I love the diversity of Tampa. There’s always something for someone, no matter the community.

Chloe M.
tampa florida, oxford exchange

Tampa Neighborhoods

Downtown Tampa: This neighborhood is popular with young professionals, families and empty nesters alike are eager to experience the vibrant arts and entertainment scene that’s blossomed in recent years. Curtis Hixon Park occupies the heart of the city with a grand green space that hosts festivals, concerts, and family-oriented recreation, all overlooking the river.

Channel District: Just east of downtown, the Channel District, also known as Channelside, has undergone a similar rebirth, from a gritty warehouse zone serving the Port of Tampa to a hip, densely populated neighborhood of converted lofts, luxury apartments, and highrise condos.

South Tampa: Stretching across the Interbay Peninsula between Hillsborough Bay to the east and Tampa Bay to the west, South Tampa is a collection of more than a dozen distinctive neighborhoods comprising some of the most coveted real estate in the region. A few highlights on some neighborhoods of South Tampa:

  • Historic Hyde Park: Its balustrade, wide sidewalk, and sliver of waterfront greenspace are notable as the world’s longest linear park. Behind the stately mansions and condo highrises that line the boulevard, upscale homes are tucked under moss-draped live oaks in one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the region. 
  • Davis Island: The neighborhood is family-oriented and prides itself on having zero traffic lights. Cyclists and runners take advantage of the miles of paved path that leads to the Marjorie Park Yacht Basin, with lots of green space for picnics and frisbee games, and the popular dog park and beach where locals take their furry friends for playtime. The village “downtown” features folksy, mid-century-modern-esque shops and restaurants 
  • Port Tampa: the neighborhood is an eclectic mix of older ranch-style homes, Florida-style bungalows, and, increasingly, new construction. You’ll find terrific recreation options including Picnic Island Park. 

Ybor City: Ybor City has several apartment complexes that are popular with young professionals and students. It’s a true party atmosphere around Seventh Avenue, but just a bit east of the entertainment district, residents struggle with poverty and crime. In the heart of Ybor City, you can’t miss Centro Ybor – the appropriately named shopping, dining and entertainment centerpiece. Give yourself enough time, because there are theaters, dozens of restaurants, shops, and fun.

Carrollwood Village: Carrollwood Village features later-era homes, apartments, and condo complexes. Planned communities are the norm in this area, such as Carrollwood Oaks, Huntington of Carrollwood, and Whispering Oaks. If you’re in the market for a multimillion-dollar waterfront estate, check out the stunners around White Trout Lake.

New Tampa: Established in 1988, New Tampa is situated just north of the University of South Florida. New Tampa is a 24-square-mile collection of planned communities with varying price points and amenities. New Tampa is a good fit for families in search of resort-style living with biking and walking trails, golf courses, tennis, and soccer field

tampa neighborhoods

Doing Business in Tampa

The Tampa region offers a major business center, it’s also known for its museums, other cultural offerings, and a modern, international airport.

Key Industries: Avionics, Defense and Marine Electronics, Business and Information Services, Financial Services, Manufacturing, Marine Sciences, Port/Maritime and Tourism

Major Employers: BayCare Health System, Publix Super Markets, University of South Florida, WellCare, Tampa General Hospital, BayCare Health Care Systems, Wal-Mart, Verizon Communications Inc., TECO Energy Inc., Times Publishing Co., Lakeland Regional Medical Center, Bealls, and OSI Restaurant Partners, LLC

Tampa Bay metro area is among the most affordable areas for entrepreneurs looking to launch startups. It was also the seventh most affordable metro area in the U.S. for startups. To determine the ranking, the report evaluated the nation’s top 50 metro areas on different criteria including cost of living, density of new businesses and investment in new businesses.

I live with my parents in a two bedroom apartment with my cat and dog in Tampa Bay, FL. We live in Channelside, which is best known for the Amalie Arena, where the Tampa Bay Lightning Team play.

Ryan R.

Cost of Living in Tampa

The Tampa Bay Times reports that Tampa Bay is one of the most affordable areas of its size in the nation, due to it’s lower-than-average rents and utilities. Florida continues to be a relatively low tax state, with extremely low per capita state taxation but considerably higher local taxes; however, its combined state and local rankings are rising.

In Tampa, the median rent is $1,221 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,420 for a two-bedroom. Rents have spiked 5% over the past year. However, Tampa’s rental prices are significantly lower than other cities and 38% cheaper than Miami.

What Tampa Renters Want

Convenient Location – People want to live, work, and find entertainment in a geographically convenient circle, but accessibility isn’t really the most easy to find such as walking to a convenience store. However, communities like Hyde Park, Fish Haw, MiraBay, Water Set (just to name a few) will usually be more available and offer closer conveniences. They’ll host entertainment events in these community neighborhoods that make their area feel more convenient and accessible to their homeowners.

Pet-Friendly – The Tampa area is pretty pet-friendly. Tampa has a couple of dog parks, one located in Curtis Hixon and one in WaterSet. In Hyde Park, restaurants will offer outdoor dining so your dog can join. They also have water bowls everywhere in that area for pets.

Key Appliances – Renters are on the lookout for properties that have garbage disposals, washers and dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, and microwaves. Most places in Tampa usually come with key appliances, but sometimes not include appliances like laundry and dryers and refrigerators, but usually every other key appliance will be there. Tenants look for all appliances to be included because they would not want to go through the process of transporting big appliances by themselves. Most Tampa tenants are business people and have no time for that so they look for convenience.

Connectivity – Wireless connectivity is extremely important to renters. Around 6.8% of workers here work remotely and the number seems to increase everyday.

Outdoor Living – One of the biggest things for Tampa. Everyone in Florida wants to see sunsets, and go to the beach and enjoy outdoor activities. A lot of people either want to live on the water or at least 30 minutes to an hour from the nearest one. Due to the Florida heat, tenants usually find pools in houses appealing.

I’m very happy with the price point for what I’m renting for in Tampa.

Anna M.

Arts, Recreation, and Entertainment in Tampa

Downtown comes alive each year with some of Tampa’s hottest festivals, most of which revolve around José Gaspar, a.k.a. Gasparilla, the Spanish pirate legend of the city. Tales of this southwest Florida plunderer first arose in 1900, although there are no historic accounts of him anywhere. Still, he is loyally celebrated with enthusiasm each year during carnival season. These festivals and others listed are conveniently located, full of life and are definitely worth a visit.

Ask any Tampeño about their favorite sport and you’ll hear about everything from football to hockey to baseball. It is also home to many sports teams:

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Super Bowl LV Winner)
  • Tampa Bay Lightning (Bolts)
  • Tampa Bay Rays
  • Tampa Bay Storm
  • Tampa Bay Rowdies

Read the full research report: Tampa, FL. We interviewed Tampeños to find out why they live there what makes their city special. Stay tuned for more city research.

Everything You Need to Know About Living in Charlotte, NC

Living everything you wanted to know about the makes the Queen City so great to live in from the people that call it home. Download our Charlotte, North Carolina Report to review all of the details.

Charlotte, NC: Fast Facts

Charlotte is the 16th most populous city in the United States and the seat of Mecklenburg County. It sits atop a long rise between two creeks, Sugar Creek and Irwin Creek, and was built on the gunnies of the St. Catherine’s and Rudisill gold mines.

Between 2017 and 2018 the population of Charlotte, NC grew from 859,052 to 872,506, at 1.57%. That’s 60 new people added every day, on average and is home to more than 800,611 people. Based on U.S. Census data from 2005 to 2015, Charlotte tops the U.S. in millennial population growth.

Many corporate headquarters call Charlotte home, such as Bank of America, Truist Financial (previously SunTrust and BB&T), and Wells Fargo. Charlotte Douglas International Airport is the 7th busiest airport in the world.

People from Charlotte are referred to as “Charlotteans”.

I moved from Orlando to Charlotte. So I used to go to a lot of chains here and then moving to Charlotte. There’s a lot of mom and pop places and that was really fun just to be able to try all these new places that I would never try anywhere else besides Charlotte.

Kathie B.

Charlotte Neighborhoods

Uptown (downtown Charlotte area): A striking symbol of the New South where traditional industry blends with innovation and creativity. As you zoom in on the iconic Charlotte skyline to the city’s center at the intersection of Trade and Tryon streets, you’ll find a bustling metropolis divided into four wards. Upscale cocktail bars and rooftop patios fill up steadily with both locals and visitors, buzzing with an energy not unlike that of the city streets below.

South End: A short walk, bike or light rail ride down South Boulevard will bring you to Charlotte’s booming South End, home to some of the city’s best restaurants, boutiques and nightlife. Young professionals (and their dogs) spill out of luxury apartments toward the area’s craft breweries and coffee shops. Art lovers go gallery hopping and explore dozens of brightly colored murals painted throughout the neighborhood by local artists, while foodies fawn over mouthwatering menu items at newly-opened eateries.

NoDa: Just a few minutes north of the city center by car or LYNX light rail, you’ll find Charlotte’s arts and entertainment district, NoDa (so named for its main drag, North Davidson Street). Brightly colored murals, galleries filled with local artwork, live performance spaces and more await in this hipster haven, which was once home to turn-of-the-century textile mills — as do ample restaurants, coffee shops, bars and breweries.

SouthPark: Centered around a bustling retail district, SouthPark invites residents and visitors to revel in the finer things in life. This upscale Charlotte neighborhood plays host to high-end eateries and watering holes, ample boutiques boasting the latest trends, massive homes with perfectly manicured lawns and luxury apartments with amenities galore. Along the main thoroughfares of Sharon, Fairview and Colony roads, tree-flanked old
houses and schools make this an idyllic place for families and professionals to call home.

Wesley Heights: The west end of Charlotte – sometimes referred to as FreeMoreWest – is booming. New coffee shops, restaurants and breweries are popping up all over this area, just minutes from both Uptown and I-77. Residents here can skip the stress of street parking, instead opting to walk to Carolina Panthers games at Bank of America Stadium or Charlotte Knights games at BB&T Ballpark. Here, historic homes on tree-lined streets still offer skyline views of Center City — so it’s no wonder the neighborhood continues to see such massive growth.

Camp North End: Explore Charlotte’s largest adaptive reuse project, a space where entrepreneurs, artists, and community builders connect and create like never before. Camp North End’s oldest buildings date back to 1924, when Henry Ford assembled Model T and Model A cars. Today, inspiration is around every corner of this 76-acre urban playground. Home to coworking spaces, art galleries, and the design labs and production studios of a dozen leaders in their field, Camp North End has made a name for itself as the hub for Charlotte’s creative professionals.

Doing Business in Charlotte

As of 2019, Charlotte has seven Fortune 500 companies in its metropolitan area. Listed in order of their rank, they are: Bank of America, Honeywell, Nucor, Lowe’s, Duke Energy, Sonic Automotive, and Brighthouse Financial.

Key Industries: Finance & Insurance, Health Care & Social Assistance, Retail Trade, Accommodations & Food Services, and Professional, Scientific & Technical Services

Major Employers: Atrium, Wells Fargo Company, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Wal-Mart Stores, Bank of America Corporations, Novant Health

Compared to other places, Charlotte, NC has an unusually high number of Finance & Insurance (2.5 times higher than expected), Information (1.43 times), and Administrative & Support & Waste Management Services (1.4 times) industries.

“There’s always something going on and you can find just about any store or restaurant. Price is affordable and employment is everywhere.”

Janna K.

Cost of Living in Charlotte

Households in Charlotte, NC have a median annual income of $60,764, which is less than the median annual income of $61,937 across the entire United States. Per capita income in Charlotte is $36,426. The cost of living is 5% lower than the national average.

In Charlotte, the medium rent is $1,068 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,193 for a two-bedroom. Rents have declined 0.2% over the past month, and are down significantly by 2.9% in comparison to the same time last year.

What Charlotte Renters Want

Climate Control: In a city that experiences both freezing winters and the heat of southern summers, utility costs can become a burden. You can either find an apartment that is all bills paid, or expect to spend more than $150 a month on utilities during summer and winter peaks.

Upscale Amenities: A spa for your dog. Golf and boxing simulators in the gym. Private bars with wine storage for residents. A 24-hour concierge. The list of amenities in some new Charlotte apartment buildings sounds more like what you’d expect in a high-end resort than a rental unit where you might live for a year or two. But with a record number of high-end apartments under construction, buildings are turning to their amenities to stand out and try to lure renters.

Pet-Friendly: Lots of people have pets, making a pet-friendly place desirable for many renters and a must-have feature for others. 65% of people own a pet, according to the National Pet Owners Survey. The most popular pets are overwhelmingly dogs and cats.

Key-Fob Entry and Interior Hallways: Three-story walkups with outside breezeways used to be the norm in Charlotte. Now, apartment developers I talked to said they can’t recall the last time they built a community that didn’t have rooms stemming from interior hallways and controlled-access doors.

Luxury Courtyards: Complete with loungers, couches, fire pits, TVs and outdoor games. Some first-floor units open directly out to the central courtyards.

One of my favorite things about living in Charlotte is that if you want to go to the mountains, that’s like a two hour drive North. Or if you want to go to the beach, it’s like a four hour drive South.

Brandie K.

Banking in Charlotte

Many corporate headquarters call Charlotte home such as Bank of America, Truist Financial, Wells Fargo along with other financial institutions has made it the second-largest banking center in the United States since 1995.

Wells Fargo has 24,000 regional employees. Bank of America has 15,000 regional employees.

Three major Finance and Insurance Industry Employers are Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and TIAA.

Read the full research report: Charlotte, NC Report. We interviewed Charlotteans to find out why they live there what makes their city special. Stay tuned for more city research.

Everything You Need to Know About Living in Nashville, TN

Learn everything you wanted to know about what makes Music City so great to live in from the people that call it home. Download our Nashville, Tennessee Report to review all of the details.

Introduction

The capital city of Tennessee, Nashville is the 23rd-most populous city in the United States and the seat of Davidson County. Strategically located in the heart of the Tennessee Valley, the Nashville region is where businesses thrive and creative spirit resonates across industries and communities.

As a national hub for the creative class, Nashville has the largest concentration of the music industry per capita in the United States. With the rapid influx of residents, Nashville as been a Top 10 Metro for Population Growth for the past 6 years. It’s been experiencing a 14% population increase since 2010. Populations projections predicts that more than 2.5 Million will live in the Nashville area by 2040.

A major center for the music industry, especially country music, Nashville is commonly known as “Music City”.

It is a town unlike any other. Authentic food, people, bars. There is always something to do, and always somewhere to go listen to live music.

Avery H.


Nashville Neighborhoods

Downtown Nashville: Corporate headquarters and honky tonks share space in the hub of downtown Nashville where the city’s varied cultural and business influences intersect under the glow of neon lights. Tourists and locals alike flock to famous honky tonks for the outstanding music, cold beer and unpretentious atmospheres. Residential options include historic lofts and modern condos and apartments.

SoBro (located Southwest of Downtown): A hotbed of economic development downtown, the SoBro area has grown rapidly in tandem with
the $583 million Music City Convention Center. Home to tech startups, coffee shops and urban living communities, SoBro is emerging as the entrepreneurial heart of Nashville.

East Nashville (located East of Downtown): Hip, young and diverse, East Nashville boasts a high concentration of locally-owned businesses and
a food scene that has earned coverage from publications like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. It’s easily walkable and offers a mix of single family houses, condos and apartments.

Green Hills (located Southwest of Downtown): One of Nashville’s most family-friendly neighborhoods, this area sports some of Nashville’s most
popular upscale shopping, dining and nightlife destinations. Many of Nashville’s celebrities call this neighborhood home, so don’t be surprised to
run into the likes of Nicole Kidman or Keith Urban as you walk the aisles of Whole Foods. Retailers include high-end shopping malls with luxury
brands and small boutiques. Dozens of restaurants, including international cuisine, fast-casual and fine dining. Home to the Bluebird Cafe, a world-famous songwriters’ showcase.

Midtown (located Southwest of Downtown): A popular area for young professionals and singles, this neighborhood is known for its vibrant nightlife. Home to a variety of hotels, casual and upscale restaurants, and businesses, Midtown is highly walkable and comes alive at night. Restaurants and bars for any taste and budget. Live music, dancing, and entertainment. Salons, tattoo parlors and coffee shops.

Germantown (located North of Downtown): Deemed Nashville’s first suburb, this neighborhood is full of rich character and history, from the
cobblestone sidewalks and historic homes to restaurants and farmers’ markets. Breathtaking views of the downtown skyline. Eclectic, vibrant urban residences and historic homes. First Horizon Park: Home to Nashville Sounds AAA Baseball.

Doing Business in Nashville

The Nashville region is a transportation hub with excellent air, rail and highway access to any part of the country and fast and easy international connections. Nashville is one of only 6 U.S. cities where three major interstate highways converge.

Key Industries: Healthcare Management, Music & Entertainment, Manufacturing, Tourism & Hospitality, and Technology

Major Employers: Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nissan North America, HCA Healthcare Inc, Vanderbilt University, Saint Thomas Health, Randstad, Asurion, Community Health Systems Inc, and Amazon.

Major Leading Technology Employers: AllianceBernstein, Amazon, Deloitte, Nissan, Vaco.

The Nashville region is home to 10 Fortune 1000 companies including 5 Fortune 500 headquarters. 75,000 people work in more than 2,500
businesses in the downtown core

I have moved from and back to Nashville several times over the years. But the thing that always brings me back is the landscape and the friendly people.

Malinda P.

Cost of Living in Nashville

No personal income tax on earnings in Tennessee-this saves the average relocating family between 3% and 10% of their income – or a savings of
$3,000 to $10,000 more for every $100,000 you earn.

Per capita income in Nashville is 20.5% higher than the U.S. average.
Nashville’s Chamber of Commerce reports that the cost of living in the
region is 2% lower than the national average.

Nashville Apartment Living

In Nashville, the median rent is $851 for a studio, $947 for a 1-bedroom, $1,164 for a 2-bedroom, and $1,551 for a 3-bedroom.

Throughout the past year, rents have remained steady in the city of Nashville, but other cities across the entire state have seen rents increase. Renters will find more reasonable prices in Nashville than most other large cities. For example, San Francisco has a median 2-bedroom rent of $2,956, which is more than two-and-a-half times the price in Nashville.

13,000 Residents live in downtown Nashville in more than 8,300 units.

What Nashville Renters Wants

Here are the top factors residents report when choosing an apartment:

Convenient In-Unit Amenities: Renters place a high value on apartment features that allow greater convenience in their day-to-day lives.
• 92% of residents expressed interest in a garbage disposal, and 56% said they would not rent without it.
• 91% of residents expressed interest in, in-unit washers and dryers, and 55% said they would not rent without it.
• 90% of residents are interested in a dishwasher, and 63% of renters would not rent without one.

Affordability: As rental rates continue to rise nationwide, rental affordability has become a big concern and the need for affordable rental options has never been greater. Depending on location and the property classes included in your portfolio, a greater emphasis on affordability over amenities may pay off in the coming year.

Convenient Location: People want to live, work, and play in a geographically convenient circle. If your property is located near the Vanderbilt University Medical Center show how it’s a convenient walk to the hospital, to appeal to healthcare professionals. Traffic is a major issue in Nashville, consider showcasing the closeness or walkability to high traffic areas.

Pet-Friendly: The American Veterinary Association estimates that 50% of renters have pets and that 3 out of 10 renters without pets would have pets if their landlords allowed it. Allowing pets in your multifamily property opens up your prospective pool of renters and provides you with a competitive edge.

Connectivity: Wireless connectivity is extremely important to renters. 91% of renters say reliable cell reception is important, and 44% say they won’t rent without reliable cell service. High-speed internet access is likewise a top priority for renters. In 4th place as a most highly ranked apartment feature, 92% of residents expressed interest in high-speed internet, while 48% would not rent without it.

Mobile Access to Resident Portal: Residents expectations for interacting with management at their communities is through mobile/internet connectivity. Overall, 81% of all residents said that it is important or very important for them to be able to access their resident portal from a mobile device. 64% signed their current lease online in some way, and given the choice, 58% of renters would rather pay rent using a resident portal mobile app than a property website via laptop/desktop.

Nashville is growing and it’s an exciting time to be here. The cost of living is increasing, but so is the city’s profile.

William H.

Healthcare in Nashville

Nashville’s Health Care Industry directly employs 126,996 people.

Health Care Management: $67 Billion Annual Economic Impact

Three major Healthcare Employers are Vanderbilt University Medical Center, HCA Healthcare Inc, Saint Thomas Health.

Nashville is home to more than 400 professional service firms that provide
expertise in the health care industry.

95% of Health Care CEOs indicate that a Nashville Headquarters
location is important to their company’s positive performance.

Read the full research report: Nashville, TN research. We interviewed Austin, Texas residents to find out why they live there what makes their city special. Stay tuned for more city research.

Why a Multifamily Marketing Agency Should Employ Live Chat

Live chat can improve multifamily marketing conversions by offering prospects speed, convenience, and a more comfortable way to communicate.

Marketing for property developers has evolved considerably in the past few years. In particular, one innovation holds immense promise to improve digital conversions. According to Neil Patel’s research, just including live chat on a multifamily marketing agency website can improve conversion rates by as much as 45 percent. Beyond improved digital conversions, live chat also enhances the customer experience and saves time.

Look into the reasons why property development marketing plans should include live chat to connect with renters.

Why a multifamily family marketing agency should use live chat

Conversion Logix offers live chat technology solutions. According to them, the best live chat solutions for apartment marketing mix technology with people on the other end of the chat line. They backed up the effectiveness of their solution with performance data from their own marketing for property developers:

  • Five-year average response speed: Their solution employs live agents. Over five years, they maintained an average response time of only five seconds.
  • Query-to-lead conversion rates: About 75 percent of potential renters submitted contact information.
  • Scheduled-tour conversion rates: One in three people who engaged in live chat scheduled an apartment tour.

Why does live chat perform better than other marketing channels?

While apartment marketers have employed live chat for years, today’s era of social distancing makes it particularly attractive. When combined with virtual tours, it provides a way to introduce renters to both a property and people without having to first schedule in-person visits.

Zendesk found that customers really do appreciate live chat sessions too. Their benchmark studies found that 92 percent of customers felt satisfied with live chat. They compared that with 88 percent who felt satisfied with a phone call, 85 percent with an email, and about 85 percent with Facebook or Twitter messages.

Some particular advantages of live chat include:

  • Speed: It sometimes takes hours or even days to get responses through email or social media channels. Automated phone systems generally require users to dial through lots of annoying options. Compare that with the average response time of five seconds for live chat. This also helps establish the community as one that’s responsive to its renters.
  • Convenience: In general, both agents and prospects can conduct a live chat session while they’re also doing something else. Since most people tend to message apartments during the day, they can chat while they’re working, supervising children, or browsing the internet.
  • Comfort: Since people can chat from anywhere they have a device, they can make themselves comfortable. They can also begin the conversation fairly anonymously, so prospects tend to feel more comfortable asking questions than they do on the phone or in person.

Using live chat most effectively for apartment marketing

Just about everybody, including staff and consumers, already have experience using some sort of messaging software. That means incorporating live chat into property development marketing should not require a long learning curve. At the same time, staff should have some training to use the system and of course, to represent their apartments well.

Typically, chat sessions should begin with a professional and formal tone. As the conversation continues, the agent can use more casual and friendly language. For instance, most people don’t use complete sentences when they compose text messages, and it’s fine to adopt the style of the prospect.

Just as with any marketing, leasing agents should have a marketing goal in mind. For instance, they may hope to prompt people to complete a lead form, click through to a virtual tour, or schedule a visit. Along with these goals, it’s important to keep track of results to help measure performance and tune messaging.

Benefits of live chat for the leasing office

Not only does live chat offer speed and convenience to customers, it also saves representatives time. For example, today’s systems may include templates that the agents can use to greet customers or answer common questions. Prospects can use live chat while they’re attending to other tasks, and in general, so can apartment representatives.

Besides just using live chat for leasing, many apartment communities also employ it to provide customer service for current tenants. It’s a great way for renters to ask questions about service requests, events, or lease renewal specials. As live chat has evolved into consumer’s preferred method of communication, it’s also great for the leasing team.

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Everything You Need to Know About Living in Austin, Texas

Learn everything you wanted to know about what makes Austin, Texas weird from the people that call it home. Download our Austin, TX research report to review all of the details.

Introduction

The capital city of Texas, Austin is the 11th-most populous city in the United States and the seat of Travis County.  Located nearly in the center of the state, Austin is about three hours south of Dallas; three hours west of Houston; and about 90 minutes north of San Antonio.

Experiencing a population growth of 34.1% between 2007 and 2017, the Austin region is one of the fastest-growing in the country  Austin has been the fastest-growing major metro in the country for nine straight years, from 2010 to 2019. The metro population jumped to an estimated 2.2 million people as of July 1, 2019, according to the United States Census Bureau. That is an increase of 2.8% from the prior year, bigger than any other metro with at least 1 million residents. That’s 169 people added every day, on average.

With a vibrant, well-educated, and youthful population of 2.2 million in the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), the median age in Austin is 34.7 years. Of Austin’s population aged over 25, 44.8% have a Bachelor’s Degree. Leading the US in tech salary growth, it’s the number four city tech workers would consider moving to.

Austin’s laid-back, take-it-or-leave-it kind of attitude matches well with its fun and “weird” culture, celebrated on bumper stickers and T-shirts with the slogan, “Keep Austin Weird.”

“Everyone is welcome and has a place somewhere here. And it just makes it such a unique place because you just never know who you’re gonna meet or what experience you’re going to have just ‘cause there’s so many different things.”

Jamie E, 38

Austin Neighborhoods

  • Downtown Austin is popular with younger residents with middle to upper household incomes. These Austinites love the convenience of being just blocks from shopping on Congress Avenue, live music venues on 6th Street, and even some great parks, hiking, and biking along the Colorado River. 
  • Across the Colorado River from Downtown Austin sits South Austin, where young, artsy types congregate. Barton Heights offers great family areas, while Travis Heights and Bouldin Creek attract mainly hip, liberal Austinites.
  • North and Northwest Austin include Round Rock, Cedar Park, and Leander, which attract a lot of families. The Leander is an award-winning school district, and Apple and Dell have large operations in the area. North Austin also has some great luxury apartments. These fast-growing Austin neighborhoods are popular with families.
  • West Austin has some of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the city, such as Westlake Hills and Steiner Ranch. The commute into town is a bit longer than in other areas of Austin, but residents are closer to Lake Travis and the great outdoors. Neighborhoods Oak Hill and Circle C Ranch are further south.
  • Although East Austin used to be considered the poorest part of the city, the area is now mostly a hipster neighborhood with many sleek, modern developments. 
  • Southeast Austin is home to a lot of University of Texas students, likely because of the large numbers of apartments and other rental properties in the area.

“I am in a tiny house in East Austin. With three dogs – I have two Huskies and a mix. You’d be surprised the people who to live in the tiny houses where I’m at.”

Shelly S, 42

Doing Business in Austin

The Austin region offers businesses deep talent, education, quality healthcare, telecommunications, and a modern, international airport.  The major employers include: Amazon, AMD, Apple, Charles Schwab, Dell, General Motors, IBM, Intel, National Instruments, Samsung, Tesla, VISA, and Whole Foods.

Key Industries include:

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Clean Technology
  • Creative & Digital Media Technology
  • Data Management
  • Financial Services and Insurance
  • Life Sciences
  • Space Technology

The growth isn’t slowing down any time soon. The new Tesla Gigafactory, set to be located in eastern Travis County, will be one of the world’s largest and most advanced automotive plants and will bring an estimated $1 billion in capital investment to the region.

In addition to being home to tech giants, Austin has a thriving startup scene. Austin area startups attracted $2.2 billion across 263 venture deals in 2019. Startups account for a larger share of businesses in Austin than in nearly all major US metros and Austin ranks 6th for new businesses per 1,000 population.

“A couple of my friends work at Google and Facebook and they’re always saying so many people are moving in. I would say those apartment complexes are definitely to cater to people like that. Cause it’s like the new hub.”

Madison P, 28

The Cost of Living in Austin

Texas consistently ranks as one of the nation’s most favorable business climates based on its low tax burden and competitive regulatory environment. Texas features no personal or corporate income tax, and overall the state has one of the lowest state and local tax burdens in the US.

According to Austin’s Chamber of Commerce, the cost of living is 2% lower than the national average.

Austin Apartment Costs

Renters will generally find more expensive prices in Austin than most similar cities. The median two-bedroom rent of $1,450 is above the national average of $1,193. The city’s median one-bedroom rent is $1,175. While rents in Austin fell moderately over the past year (-0.6%), many cities nationwide saw slight increases (+0.2%). 

According to RENTCafé, these 5 Austin neighborhoods offer a good selection of rental apartments, unique dining, shopping, atmosphere, walkability, and a sense of community:

  • Downtown Austin (average rent $2,200/mo)
  • Central Austin ($2,100/mo)
  • Clarksville, between downtown and the MoPac Expressway ($2,100/mo)
  • Zilker, South Austin ($1,400/mo)
  • Travis Heights, South Austin ($1,400/mo)

What Austin Renters Want

No two renters are the same but many Austin renters are consistently seeking features and amenities. Here are the top things tenants report looking for in a property: 

  • Convenient Location – People want to live, work, and play in a geographically convenient circle. If your multifamily property is located near the University of Texas, show how it’s a convenient walk to campus to appeal to professors, graduate students, and staff. Similarly, if you have property near the new Apple campus, play up this proximity and go after Apple employees.
  • Pet-Friendly – The American Veterinary Association estimates that 50 percent of renters have pets and that 3 out of 10 renters without pets would have pets if their landlords allowed it. Allowing pets in your multifamily property opens up your prospective pool of renters and provides you with a competitive edge.
  • Key Appliances – Renters are on the lookout for properties that have garbage disposals, washers and dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, and microwaves. In higher-end rentals targeted at tech industry workers, potential residents may expect smart thermostats and TVs.
  • Connectivity – Wireless connectivity is extremely important to renters. Ninety-one percent of renters say reliable cell reception is important, and 44 percent say they won’t rent without reliable cell service.
  • Outdoor Living – One of the bigger benefits of living in Austin is the ability to enjoy warm water all year round. Tenants respond positively to multifamily properties that offer outdoor living space such as balconies, patios, or decks.

Arts, Recreation, and Entertainment

The city’s official slogan promotes Austin as “The Live Music Capital of the World”, a reference to the city’s many musicians and live music venues. It’s also home to events like Austin City Limits and SXSW Music, Film, and Interactive.

Instead of the flat terrain common to most of the state, visitors are greeted with stunning vistas, rolling hills, and wildflowers. Austin’s natural setting, in one of America’s most unique landscapes, offers plenty of opportunities to get outdoors for fitness, recreation, and relaxation.

Austin has a reputation as one of the nation’s fittest cities, since there’s plenty to do outside to stay fit and enjoy an active lifestyle in the area’s mostly temperate climate. 

Ask any Austinite about their favorite sport and you’ll hear about everything from football to roller derby to cycling to kayaking. Austin is also home to many sports teams including:

  • Austin Spurs: NBA D-League Basketball Team
  • Round Rock Express: AAA Baseball Team
  • Texas Stars: AHL Ice Hockey Team
  • Texas Longhorns: Big 12 Conference College Sports
  • Austin FC (2021): Major League Soccer
  • Austin Bold: United Soccer League
  • Circuit of the Americas: Formula 1 United States Grand Prix, INDYCAR Challenge, MotoGP
  • Austin Herd: Major League Rugby

“The music scene is one of the things that was appealing to my husband and me when we moved here. Austin is the live music capital of the world. Every single weekend there is live music from local folks and from up and coming artists from around the country. And it is every type of genre that you can think of – from rap to alternative to bluegrass country. It is really culturally diverse.”

Theresa M, 39

Read the full research report: Austin, TX research. We interviewed Austin, Texas residents to find out why they live there what makes their city special. Stay tuned for more city research.