U.S. rental statistics give renters, agents, landlords, and real estate investors insights into the constantly shifting housing rental market. These are particularly helpful when buying an investment house, listing or searching for a rental home, and representing clients in the current market. We analyzed the latest renters’ demographics and preferences, rent prices, and rental housing vacancy indexes to provide the most accurate look at the current real estate rental market.
Here are the 20 critical national real estate rental statistics to help you boost your clientele and optimize your marketing campaign:
Renter Demographic Statistics
Real estate agents, landlords, and investors who desire to grow their business and generate more leads must look into real estate rental statistics to identify which niches and markets they must focus on. With so many housing markets and target audiences, concentrating on the right target audience and marketing methods will deliver the most return on investment.
1. 48% of renters are under 30 years old
According to the National Multifamily Housing Council, of the overall population of renter-occupied households, 24% of people ages 30 to 44 and 48% of people ages under 30 are renters. The lowest renter rate was for people ages 65 and older, at 10%.
Key takeaway: Knowing these rental trends enables landlords and homeowners—those wanting to rent out their homes—to develop marketing plans that align with their target audience and financial situation. In this scenario, home rental statistics indicate landlords should approach young adults to determine their interest in leasing.
2. 38.1% of renters are living alone
RubyHome shared that the renter household composition shows 38.1% of renters are living alone, 26.1% are married couples, 24.3% are composed of other families, and 11.5% are living with roommates.
Key takeaway: Renting a home is directly linked to the number of occupants. When investors are looking for properties to purchase, consider the demographics of the area. If there are more families in your target location, consider purchasing homes with more bedrooms. Conversely, if the demographic comprises single people, studios or one-bedrooms would be a more profitable purchase.
3. 59% of renters have at least one pet
Since 2018, more than one-third of renter households have reported owning a dog, and almost 30% have reported owning a cat. In 2022, 38% of renter households owned at least one dog, and 29% for cat-owner renters. Overall, 59% of renters had at least one pet in their home in 2022.
Key takeaway: Pet adoptions surged due to the pandemic’s proliferation of work-from-home situations and loneliness. According to rental market trends, more tenants now have pets, so landlords should revisit their pet policies and allow tenants to own pets if they want more tenants.
4. 54% of renters earn less than $50,000 in income
Renters typically earn less per household ($42,500) than the average American ($67,500). This means the post-pandemic renting environment and economic conditions have unfairly burdened many people. As a result, 54% of renters earn less than $50,000, while 29% earn $50,000 to less than $100,000.
Key takeaway: Since many rental households are earning less income, they find it challenging to keep up with the continually increasing rent asking prices. Also, this is keeping would-be homebuyers unable to purchase a home. As a result, rental affordability is declining.
5. Renter households reached 44.1 million
Renter-occupied households increased to 44,147,724 million (35%) today from 43.8 million renters in 2018 of all households in the United States. In contrast, 83,396,988 households, or 65%, are owner-occupied.
Key takeaway: These rental statistics imply that many individuals can afford homeownership over renting. However, with increases in mortgage rates, home prices, and basic necessities, people are finding it difficult to purchase a home.
6. 24.7% of millennial renters expect to always rent
The proportion of millennials who anticipate renting forever has gradually climbed since 2018. Compared to 2021, only 21.6% of U.S. millennials assume they will always rent. However, it increased by 3.1% in 2022, reaching 24.7%.
Key takeaway: Even though homeownership has long been associated with the “American Dream,” millennials are less likely than older generations to own a home. One of the primary factors influencing this trend is that houses have recently become significantly more expensive, causing many U.S. millennials to give up on homeownership.
7. 64% of renters consider moving within the next three years
According to Zillow’s rental report for 2022, 64% of renters say they are considering moving within the next three years. Forty-seven percent of renters also say they’re considering moving in the next year, and 45% of renters are considering moving and plan to buy their next home.
Key takeaway: These rental statistics reveal that most tenants don’t have long-term leases. Also, many renters look for ways to save resources and plan their next moves. Property owners must consider how they can stay attractive in a tighter market.
If you’re a landlord with tenants planning to move, you can advertise your property at Zillow. It is a highly visited website, giving you exposure and allowing you to capture high-quality leads. Aside from these, Zillow has a mobile app that enables you to track your leads in real time. Third-party integrations are also available for you to leverage.
8. Renters’ primary priority is affordability
Eighty percent of renters said the affordability of the property is the most important home characteristic they considered in 2022. The property must have the preferred number of bedrooms comes in second at 68%, and has the preferred number of bathrooms followed at 51%. On the other hand, “shared community recreation space” (14%) is the least important home characteristic that renters consider when choosing a property to rent.
Key takeaway: Even in a thriving market, finding and keeping qualified tenants will reduce turnover for your property. Given the intense focus on affordability, renters will likely be drawn to concessions that keep your rental within their price range. To capture renters on a tight budget and obtain a competitive edge, landlords can give a free month or two of rent or competitive pricing.
9. 74% of renters used mobile devices when searching for rentals
In 2022, renters used mobile devices (74%) as their tool in researching rental properties. Websites on a laptop or desktop computer come second at 67%, followed by smartphone or tablet at 60%.
Key takeaway: Online search is generally on the rise across all device types, as seen from the rental trends. Mobile, however, surpassed searches on laptops and desktops regarding the total number. An increasing number of tenants say they search on their smartphones each year. Prospective tenants, particularly younger searchers, anticipate seamless digital experiences like online applications, lease signing, or rent payment solutions.
If you’re a beginner landlord, Baselane is an excellent tool for collecting, automating, and tracking tenant rent payments. Its service is also free for budget-conscious landlords who want to save money and utilize a reliable payment system.
10. 55% of renters signed their lease in-person or on paper
For some tenants, signing a lease physically may be inconvenient. However, 55% of renters still signed their lease physically. But compared to 2019, there is a 17% decrease in the in-person signing of lease agreements. On the other hand, the portion of recent renters who reported signing their lease online jumped to 36% in 2022 from 23% in 2019, a 13% increase.
Rental Property Location Statistics
Rental property investors and landlords should review rental property location statistics regularly to determine which metro areas are profitable and which are declining. These recent rental trends can assist investors in generating more tenants and increasing profits.
11. 55% of renters live in the suburbs
According to Zillow Rentals Consumer Housing Trends Report 2022, 55% of renters live in the suburbs, 30% live in an urban area, and 15% live in a rural area.
Key takeaway: To attract more tenants, landlords should target suburban areas since the demand is high. Landlords and investors should also know why they prefer to live in suburban areas rather than other communities and neighborhoods, whether by population, type of houses, or environment, so they can plan their marketing strategy effectively.
12. 53% of renters live in apartment buildings
According to Zillow’s report for 2022, 21% of renters lived in a single-family detached house. However, 53% of renters live in apartment buildings—19% for a larger-size apartment building and 17% for both medium- and smaller-size apartment buildings. Furthermore, the typical renter lives in a two-bedroom, 1.5-bath apartment spanning 500 to 999 square feet.
Key takeaway: A majority of renters prefer apartment buildings to single-family homes as they are typically closer to transportation, less expensive for utilities, and oftentimes have additional amenities like common areas, a pool, and a gym. In contrast to apartment buildings are single-family homes and other multi-family properties, like a duplex, triplex, or fourplex. These buildings require renters to maintain larger living spaces on their own and do not include additional perks.
13. The South (36%) has the largest share of renters
The South has the highest percentage of renters at 36%. The West comes in second with 29%, followed by the Northeast with 19% and the Midwest with 17%. If you look at the median household income and the states with the lowest income, they are mostly in the South, such as West Virginia, Arkansas, and Alabama. This makes it more affordable for Southerners to rent than buy.
14. New York City is the most expensive city for renters
New York, NY, is the most expensive city for renters as of February 2023 nationwide. Its median asking rent price is $3,927, a 0.7% year-over-year increase. San Francisco, CA, comes in second with a median asking rent price of $3,694 (+3.7% Y-o-Y), followed by Boston, MA, at $3,642 (+0.5% Y-o-Y).
U.S. City Area
Median Asking Rent Price
New York, NY
San Francisco, CA
San Jose, CA
San Diego, CA
Top 5 Most Expensive U.S. cities as of February 2023 (Source: Redfin)
Key takeaway: If you plan to rent a home in New York, you should know rising rental asking rates and high demand may result in fierce competition. Making a financial strategy ahead of time and knowing the rental statistics by city will assist you in preparing for the market. As for investors, higher rent prices will imply a high return on investment.
15. Louisville, KY ($1,387) is the cheapest city for renters
In February 2023, Louisville, KY, is the most affordable U.S. city for renters, with a median asking rent of $1,387, a 5.5% year-over-year increase. It is followed by San Antonio, TX, with a median rent price of $1,457 (+2.3% Y-o-Y) and Indianapolis, IN, at $1,500 (+8.5% Y-o-Y).
U.S. City Area
Median Asking Rent Price
San Antonio, TX
Kansas City, MO
Top 5 Cheapest U.S. cities as of February 2023 (Source: Redfin)
Key takeaway: These rental trends reveal that the Midwest and South regions of the United States are ideal for renters with tight budgets since they have the cheapest cities nationwide. But since rents in these areas are cheaper, investors may obtain lower returns.
16. Austin, Texas, has the largest decline in rent at -6.5%
According to Redfin’s rental market tracker, Austin, TX, has experienced the biggest rent drop among the 11 major U.S. city areas, at -6.5%. It is followed by New Orleans, LA, with a 6.4% decrease, and Phoenix, AZ, with a 4% decline.
New Orleans, LA
U.S. cities with the most rent decline (Source: Redfin)
Key takeaway: The main reasons for rent decreases are increased inventory and lack of demand. For renters looking for an affordable rental property, we recommend exploring the neighborhood at the metro areas listed above. However, those city areas are unsuitable locations for real estate rental business since there is low demand and high supply.
17. Charlotte, NC, experienced the highest rent increase at 14.3%
Redfin’s rental market tracker reported that Charlotte, NC, experienced the highest rent increases among the U.S. city areas, at 14.3%. Columbus, OH, came in second at +12.6%, followed by Milwaukee, WI, at +9.5%.
Kansas City, MO
Buffalo, NY; Providence RI
Cincinnati, OH; Louisville, KY; Memphis, TN
Riverside, CA; San Diego
U.S. city areas with the most rent increase (Source: Redfin)
Key takeaway: Rent increases are caused by the lack of inventory and rising demand, which motivates homeowners to increase their prices to keep up with increased demand. For investors looking for a location to maximize their profits, we recommend investing in the city areas above. However, renters should avoid those metros listed above if they have a tight budget.
Real Estate Rental Statistics About Finances
Knowing all financial rental statistics, such as median rent prices and vacancy rent indexes, is critical for landlords and real estate investors. These are useful in maximizing their profits—helping them plan their finances and investment strategies to boost their earnings.
18. The vacancy index hit 6.6% in 2023
Based on the Apartment List national rent report, the national vacancy index reached 6.6% in 2023, a 2.5% increase from October 2021. This rental statistic is also the highest since February 2021, matching the average index rate from 2018 to 2019.
Key takeaway: After experiencing pandemic-related delays in recent years, new apartment development has resumed. As more inventory enters the market over the year, we might see property owners fighting for tenants to fill their units, a significant difference from the previous two years when renters competed for a limited amount of available inventory. To learn the property’s vacancy rate, use our vacancy rate calculator.
19. In March 2023, median rent price decreased by 0.4%
The median rent prices in the United States decreased by 0.4% in March 2023 ($1,937) compared to March 2022 ($1,944), the lowest level in 13 months. This marks the first annual decline since 2020.
Key takeaway: Because people are less likely to move due to consistently high housing costs, inflation, recession fears, and a slowdown in household formation, the demand for new leases has decreased, slowing rent growth. A surge in supply due to an apartment construction frenzy has also led to a slowing in rental price increases.
While increasing the rate in one or more rental apartments is frequently necessary to maximize your investment, telling your renters can be challenging. Learn how to write a professional yet friendly rent increase letter by reading our article, The Essential Guide to Rent Increase Letters + Free Template.
20. Average monthly rent in the U.S. by apartment size
The average monthly apartment rent in the United States in February 2023 by apartment size is $1,343 for overall average monthly rent. The average monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,320, and $1,152 for a one-bedroom apartment.
Key takeaway: According to these U.S. rental market statistics, rents will keep increasing throughout 2023. We advise renting a studio-style apartment if you have a limited budget and plan to live alone. However, if you have a family and a larger income, renting a three- or four-bedroom apartment would be your best option.
While the rental market was competitive and the vacancy rate was low in 2022, things will probably be different in 2023. Rent growth is slowing down nationally, and prices are dropping in some cities, which is good news for renters. Landlords and property owners must be aware of these rental patterns and keep an eye on them in the future to make more effective and strategic judgments.