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Rents on the Rise, but Homebuying Not Every American's Dream

Jan 1, 2019 12:00:11 AM

Housing affordability may be at a record low, but rentals are not a bargain either, according to two year-end reports.

Zumper just released their annual year-end report looking at real estate trends in 2018. A few key findings include:

  • Rent is not getting cheaper: The average one bedroom in San Francisco is now $3,560, a 5% year-over-year increase and Boston is up to $2,489 a 10% jump from this time last year
  • The American Dream is starting to not include homeownership: In the survey, 33% of respondents said that they do not believe that the American Dream involves homeownership.
  • Millennials are still relying on mom and dad: Twenty percent of 18-24 year olds require help with rent from parents. Here are the top cities where there are the most "Millennial Moochers." Detroit was at the top of the list.

A Zillow subsidiary also has been studying the fortunes of renters, and found U.S. households spent a record amount on rent in 2018 despite a decrease in the number of households who rent their home. The new HotPads® analysis found the U.S. spent $504.4 billion on rent in 2018 – more than the entire GDP of Belgium ($494.7 billion)and three times the current net worth of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos ($124 billion)ii.

Renters spent $12.6 billion more paying their rent in 2018 than they did in 2017. The current median rent is $1,475, up 3 percent from a year ago. Throughout 2018, rents rose about 3 percent year over year – continuing a gradual slowdown in rent appreciation that began in mid-2016.

However, the number of renter households in the U.S. decreased slightly in 2018. There were about 43.2 million renter households across the country this year – nearly 100,000 fewer than in 2017.

A gradual slowdown in rent appreciation has allowed renters looking to purchase homes greater ability to save for a down payment in recent years, and millennials – the generation comprising half of today's renters -- are also buying homes more than any other generation. With more eligible buyers on the market, the number of renter households has decreased slightly over the past year.

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