What Will the Average Renter Look Like in 2018?


With dramatic turns around every corner in 2017’s rental market, it is hardly unrealistic to expect that changing times will persist into the coming year. Let’s take a look at some of the characteristics that will make up the renter pool in the year 2018.

First off, there was in excess of 111 million apartment renters in the United States in 2017, with just shy of 23 million landlords. These statistics are courtesy of the Rental Protection Agency. The agency also notes that a new unit is rented every 80 seconds nationwide, with a new renter taking occupancy every 32 seconds. Individual renters make up the bulk of apartment rentals, with the average age between 25 and 34 years of age, meaning that Millennials are making up the bulk of the market. In total, these figures constitute 30 percent of the U.S. housing market.

Let’s break those down by geographic region:

·   The District of Columbia has the highest percentage (60 percent) of apartment renters

·   New York weighs in at 47 percent

·   California and Hawaii are tied at approximately 43 percent each.

Online apartment-hunting source ABODO found in its “Renter Cost Burdens by Generation” study that Millennials make up 65.5 percent of U.S. renters, the largest such group. These renters hold a median gross rent – including utilities and associated costs – of $980 on a national median household income of $39,900. That constitutes nearly 30 percent of income spent on housing.

A far smaller chunk of GenXers – just under 38 percent – rent their homes. They shoulder the highest median rent -- $1,050 per month – but also boast the greatest median income at just shy of $45,000.

Meanwhile, Baby Boomers make up 23.3 percent of all renters – but Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies’ “State of the Nation’s Housing 2017” report found that they were also the largest group of new renters. Moreover, Freddie Mac finds that nearly three-quarters of households aged 55 and older expect to rent their next home. This group pays the lowest median rent ($890 per month) but also has the lowest median salary ($33,000).

It appears that Millennials are continuing to rent in lieu of homeownership – but why? There are several reasons, according to RentPlus:

·   Wariness of a major financial commitment

·   The greater flexibility that comes with renting

·   A variety of amenities

These amenities include group service discounts, recreation rooms, swimming pools, tennis courts, and even free cable and internet. However, a renter’s largest amenity may well be his or her ability to get in touch with their landlord when repairs need to be made. If a landlord or property manager is going to keep a Millennial renter happy, he or she will be well advised to remember this.

Boomers who are downsizing are also interested in amenities, of course, and many of the same ones sought by Millennials. Boomers are also interested in community – something that may especially be found in larger apartment buildings and group housing settings.