Majority of population in big US cities opts to rent: report

Miami surpassed New York City with highest level of renters

February 09, 2015 12:45 PM

Rental apartments in New York

It’s a renter’s world out there.

Major U.S. cities are seeing an uptick in the amount of renters compared to home owners, according to a new report by New York University’s Furman Center.

Even lower density cities are seeing an uptick in renters, according to the report cited by the Wall Street Journal.

New York City no longer has the largest share of renters among the country’s other big cities, the report found. Miami — where 65 percent of the population are renters — has surpassed New York. The percentage of renters in New York has been dropping, with 71 percent in 1970 and 64 percent in 2013.

For many, slow income growth and a lack of savings are the reason for renting over buying, according to the newspaper, even though mortgage rates are still at a historic low. As a result, the demand for rental apartments is up in many cities, which in turn is pushing up housing costs across the country.

“As the number of renters grow, if the supply of rental housing does not keep up, as it has not in most of these cities, then vacancy rates will fall, rents will rise, and more renters will struggle with the costs of housing,” Ingrid Gould Ellen, the Furman Center’s faculty director, told the newspaper.

Rents grew faster than inflation in all of the 11 largest metro areas in the country, except for Dallas and Houston where rates remained flat, according to the report. Washington D.C. saw the biggest rent increase, with a 21 percent jump in median rent.

Philadelphia had the lowest percentage of renters in 2013, with 44 percent. Across the country, 36 percent of households are being rented, while 64 percent were own-occupied. Developers and economists expect that the trend of renting over owning will continue. [WSJ] — Claire Moses