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Renting in the United States - The Year in Review

By: Andrew Woo
December 22, 2015

Happy Holidays! It's been an exciting year here at Apartment List, and with 2015 coming to a close, we wanted to highlight the top rental trends and stories this year.

Homeownership

The US homeownership rate fell to 63.4% in the second quarter of 2015 - the lowest level since 1967. It recovered in Q3, to 63.7%, but is still ~5% below pre-recession levels. According to our research, most millennials still plan to purchase homes, but only after 2018. In the meantime, more young adults are continuing to live with their parents - the share of 18-34-year-olds living with their parents rose this year to 31.5%, from 27% in 2005.

Rents

Rents continue to climb in many cities and states, with 2-bedroom rents in the United States increasing 4.0% YoY in 2015. San Francisco continues to be the most expensive city in the country - a 2-bedroom apartment there will set you back $4,750 every month - but rents are increasing quickly in Denver, Austin, and Los Angeles as well.

Affordability

With rents rising nationwide, affordability continues to be an issue for renters in many cities and states. Nationwide, 51.8% of renters are cost-burdened, spending more than 30% of their income on rent - a level which likely limits their ability to save for the down payment on a home. Rental affordability was the worst in Florida, with more than 60% of renters in Miami, Hialeah, and Fort Lauderdale being cost-burdened. Surprisingly, San Francisco had the lowest cost-burden rate of the large cities we examined (42.5%).

City satisfaction

Despite the challenges with affordability, many renters remain upbeat and optimistic about their city. We asked 18,000 renters to rate their city's economy, safety, schools, and other qualities, and received some interesting results. Plano, TX received the highest marks overall, with Boston and Arlington, VA taking second and third place respectively. Overall, mountain states graded particularly well, with Utah, Idaho, and Colorado all scoring in the top five states.

For those interested, we are including additional data below. Have a great holiday!

State
Median 2 BR price
YoY change in 2BR rent
City Satisfaction
% of renters planning on buying a home
% of cost-burdened renters
Alabama$700-0.3%B+73%52%
Arizona$8703.9%A-47%50%
Arkansas$600-0.6%D66%48%
California$1,8707.7%A60%57%
Colorado$1,3504.7%A+62%51%
Connecticut$1,2002.8%D52%54%
Florida$1,3506.3%B58%58%
Georgia$8803.9%C-66%52%
Idaho$7603.7%A+79%47%
Illinois$1,3301.3%B+62%50%
AUTHOR
Andrew is the former Director of Data Science at Apartment List, where he lead research into rental trends and affordability. Andrew previously worked as a management consultant at Bain & Company, and has a BA in Economics from Brigham Young University. Read More
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