Renters now outnumber homeowners in more than half of the states in the United States, and the trend toward renting doesn’t look like it’s losing steam, even as the housing market makes gains.
Bloomberg News reports that 52 of the 100 largest U.S. cities were majority-renter in 2015, and according to the Urban Institute, rentership will keep rising through 2030.
These stats can seem surprising, especially since the housing market ticked up in the second half of 2016, but factors such as baby boomers downsizing into apartments, millennials finally moving out of their parents’ homes and a rising Hispanic population boosted rentership across the country.
Another factor: a lack of inventory in the housing market. Fewer than one million homes were on the market in the first quarter of 2017, the lowest number since Trulia began recording inventory data in 2012. This makes it harder for first-time homebuyers to find something in their price range.
And this shift toward renting means that cities need to provide protections not only for renters, but also to help landlords keep properties in good repair. In addition, city leaders need to change their attitudes regarding renters, who are sometimes overlooked as community leaders, because it’s assumed that they don’t have a real stake in their neighborhoods.
“It goes a long way just to make sure you’re valuing renters and making sure voices are heard when it’s time to allocate resources to schools or parks or transit lines,” said Andrew Jakabovics, vice president for policy development at Enterprise Community Partners, an affordable housing nonprofit.