Renter Demand for Houses Puts Upward Pressure on Prices

Renter Demand for Houses Puts Upward Pressure on Prices

Almost half of all renters consider renting a single-family home, but less than a third actually do, according to the 2017 Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report out this fall

– Supply of single-family rental homes has not kept up with high demand, driving up rents. An increase in multi-family units, thanks to new construction trends over the past several years, has kept multi-family rents virtually flat.

– Nationally, median rent for houses rose 1.3 percent year-over-year, while median rent for an apartment rose just 0.5 percent.

– In half of the 50 largest U.S. metros, it’s getting more and more expensive to rent a house versus an apartment. Single-family rents are rising faster than multi-family rents, with the trend most exaggerated in Portland, Ore., New Orleans and Chicago.

Rental houses have been in high demand since the housing market crashed, but a lack of supply has made renting those homes more expensive. According to a new Zillow® analysis, the median monthly rent for single-family homes is rising faster than the median monthly rent for apartments.

While rents for both houses and apartments have slowed significantly over the past year, median rent for houses rose 1.3 percent annually to a monthly rent payment of $1,404, but median rent for apartments rose 0.5 percent, to a monthly rent payment of $1,551.

There are fewer single-family homes to rent than a decade ago. When the housing market crashed, investors scooped up many single-family homes lost to foreclosure and turned them into rentals. Almost 20 percent of all single-family homes across the U.S. were rented in 2016, up from 13.5 percent 10 years prior.

Meanwhile, rentals are in increasingly high demand because many aspiring homeowners don’t have enough money to buy a home. A 20 percent down payment on a typical U.S. home costs more than two-thirds of the median household income, but can cost up to 180 percent of the median household income in pricier housing markets like San Jose and Los Angeles.

According to the 2017 Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Reporti (ZGR) coming out this fall, 45 percent of all recent renters consider renting a single-family home, but just 28 percent actually ended up renting one. The report also found that half of all buyers with children at home consider renting instead of buying during their home search, and according to the Census Bureau, 40 percent of families with children still living at home are rentersii.

In half of the 50 largest U.S. metros, median rent for houses is rising faster than median rent for apartments. The most extreme example of this trend is in Portland, Ore., New Orleans and Chicago.  In Portland, monthly rent for houses is rising at almost 4.5 percent annually, but monthly rent for apartments is falling. Over the past year, median rent for Portland apartments fell just over 1 percent, to a monthly payment of $1,536. Median rent for Chicago apartments is also falling, while rent for houses is rising just over 1 percent annually.

“When the market crashed, many families lost homes they owned during the foreclosure crisis, and now may not be able to afford to buy another as home prices rise,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. “Those who want to buy are finding it difficult to find the right one, or may need a bit more time to come up with a down payment, but still want the advantage of space that single-family residences often provide. This, coupled with the foreclosure crisis turning millions of homeowners into renters, is a big reason why demand for single-family rental homes has risen over the last few years. Even though rental homes are in high demand, apartment living remains an attractive option for many young renters who want to be close to work and amenities, like restaurants and grocery stores.”

Generation X rentersiii (ages 38-52) are significantly more likely to rent a single-family home than any other home type. Just over 40 percent of Generation X renters rent a single-family home, compared to 25 percent of millennials (ages 18-37) and just 10 percent of Silent Generation renters (ages 73 and over)iv.

Single-family rental homes are a popular choice among Generation X, but millennial and Silent Generation renters are more apt to rent an apartment. Over 50 percent of millennials and 62 percent of Silent Generation rentersv surveyed in Zillow’s 2017 Consumer Housing Trends Report currently rent an apartment.

Metropolitan Area  Zillow Rent Indexvi (ZRI) Among Apartments Apartment ZRI YoY Change ZRI Among Single-Family Homes Single-Family Home ZRI YoY Change Share of Single-Family Homes that are Rentalsvii
United States $1,551 0.5% $1,404 1.3% 19.2%
New York/Northern New Jersey $2,332 -1.1% $2,408 -0.9% 10.5%
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA $2,455 3.4% $2,815 4.0% 24.5%
Chicago, IL $1,543 -1.5% $1,694 1.1% 12.8%
Dallas-Fort Worth, TX $1,366 2.8% $1,607 2.6% 17.0%
Philadelphia, PA $1,228 -0.8% $1,694 0.2% 14.9%
Houston, TX $1,285 -3.2% $1,553 -2.7% 16.0%
Washington, DC $1,915 0.9% $2,295 0.7% 14.7%
Miami-Fort Lauderdale, FL $1,596 -1.7% $2,115 -1.5% 20.8%
Atlanta, GA $1,336 3.0% $1,358 3.5% 19.3%
Boston, MA $2,240 2.8% $2,428 2.0% 8.5%
San Francisco, CA $3,002 -0.9% $3,461 -0.9% 20.4%
Detroit, MI $1,301 0.6% $1,141 -0.3% 16.1%
Riverside, CA $1,679 4.8% n/a n/a 24.8%
Phoenix, AZ $1,178 1.1% $1,371 2.5% 22.1%
Seattle, WA $1,849 4.1% $2,243 5.4% 16.5%
Minneapolis-St Paul, MN $1,387 1.7% $1,645 3.9% 10.6%
San Diego, CA $2,220 5.3% $2,623 4.3% 25.2%
St. Louis, MO $939 0.6% $1,166 0.6% 14.1%
Tampa, FL $1,201 0.3% $1,409 2.4% 19.2%
Baltimore, MD $1,586 -0.8% $1,746 -0.2% 16.3%
Denver, CO $1,652 3.1% $2,119 -0.4% 15.9%
Pittsburgh, PA $1,084 -2.0% $1,078 -2.4% 13.7%
Portland, OR $1,536 -1.1% $1,890 4.4% 16.9%
Charlotte, NC $1,208 1.4% $1,280 3.1% 17.8%
Sacramento, CA $1,456 7.5% n/a n/a 23.7%
San Antonio, TX $1,146 1.1% $1,340 1.0% 19.2%
Orlando, FL $1,160 2.5% $1,466 3.2% 20.4%
Cincinnati, OH $1,025 2.9% $1,296 1.6% 14.7%
Cleveland, OH $903 -1.7% $1,197 0.1% 15.3%
Kansas City, MO $1,022 2.5% $1,295 1.4% 17.6%
Las Vegas, NV $979 4.3% n/a n/a 28.5%
Columbus, OH $1,102 0.2% $1,373 2.2% 18.1%
Indianapolis, IN $1,018 0.8% $1,208 -0.3% 17.1%
San Jose, CA $3,101 -0.4% $3,583 -0.9% 20.2%
Austin, TX $1,536 -0.5% $1,727 -0.7% 16.0%
Virginia Beach, VA $1,236 -0.6% $1,454 -0.8% 20.3%
Nashville, TN $1,419 1.0% $1,496 3.0% 14.5%
Providence, RI $1,317 1.9% $1,700 2.2% 10.5%
Milwaukee, WI $940 -0.9% $1,504 0.9% 13.1%
Jacksonville, FL $1,184 0.3% n/a n/a 19.1%
Memphis, TN $1,127 -0.4% $1,041 -2.4% 22.2%
Oklahoma City, OK $784 -1.1% $1,101 -3.5% 20.5%
Louisville-Jefferson County, KY $1,036 3.7% $1,183 4.1% 14.5%
Hartford, CT $1,294 1.1% $1,678 -1.9% 7.8%
Richmond, VA $1,223 -0.4% $1,349 -0.5% 18.0%
New Orleans, LA $1,434 -3.6% $1,392 -0.8% 17.5%
Buffalo, NY $802 1.4% $1,255 -1.2% 9.8%
Raleigh, NC $1,196 1.5% $1,441 2.8% 16.5%
Birmingham, AL $995 -1.2% $1,062 -0.6% 13.2%
Salt Lake City, UT $1,386 3.0% $1,567 5.0% 12.5%


About Zillow

Zillow is the leading real estate and rental marketplace dedicated to empowering consumers with data, inspiration and knowledge around the place they call home, and connecting them with the best local professionals who can help. In addition, Zillow operates an industry-leading economics and analytics bureau led by Zillow’s Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. Dr. Gudell and her team of economists and data analysts produce extensive housing data and research covering more than 450 markets at Zillow Real Estate Research. Zillow also sponsors the quarterly Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey, which asks more than 100 leading economists, real estate experts and investment and market strategists to predict the path of the Zillow Home Value Index over the next five years. Launched in 2006, Zillow is owned and operated by Zillow Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:Z and ZG), and headquartered in Seattle.

Zillow and Zestimate are registered trademarks of Zillow, Inc.

i The 2017 Zillow Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends is the largest-ever survey of U.S. home buyers, sellers, owners and renters. The full 2017 Zillow Group Report – which examines the characteristics, aspirations and priorities of more than 13,000 U.S. residents aged 18 to 75 about their homes – will be released this fall.
ii According to the U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2015.
iii Renters who moved into their home in the past year.
iv According to the 2017 Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report coming out this fall.
v Renters who moved into their home in the past year.
vi The Zillow Rent Index (ZRI) is the median Rent Zestimate® (estimated monthly rental price) for a given geographic area on a given day, and includes the value of all single-family residences, condominiums, cooperatives and apartments in Zillow’s database, regardless of whether they are currently listed for rent. It is expressed in dollars.
vii National number is from 2016. The latest data available at the metro level is from 2015.



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