A decade of broad-based demand

A DECADE OF BROAD-BASED DEMAND As measured by the Housing Vacancy Survey, the number of renter households soared by nearly 9 million from 2005 to 2015—the largest increase over any 10-year period on record. Moreover, 2015 marked the largest single-year jump in net new renter households, up 1.4 million, with most of the gains posted in the first half of the year. Renters have thus accounted for all of the net growth in households since 2005 (Figure 27).

Much of the jump in rental demand has come from middle-aged households. Current Population Survey data indicate that the number of renter households in their 50s and 60s rose by 4.3

Rental housing markets across

the country tightened again

in 2015. While multifamily

construction ramped up for the

fifth consecutive year, demand

continued to outstrip supply,

pushing down vacancy rates and

pushing up rents. Although renter

household growth is likely to

slow from its current pace, rental

demand should remain strong

over the coming decade, keeping

markets under pressure—

particularly at the low end.




million in 2005–2015, driven by both the aging of baby-boomer renters and declines in homeownership rates among this age group. Renter households age 70 and over also increased by more than 600,000 over the decade. Meanwhile, households in their 30s and 40s accounted for 3 million net new renters despite the dip in population in this age group. Households under age 30, however, made up only 1 million net new renters, reflecting the steep falloff in headship rates among the millen- nial generation following the Great Recession.

With the overall aging of the US population and the growth in the number of baby-boomer renters, single persons living alone (up 2.9 million) and married couples without dependent children (up 1.6 million) propelled much of the growth in renter households over the past decade. At the same time, though, the number of renters with children—including both couples and single-parent families—rose by 2.2 million.

While demand picked up across households of all incomes, nearly half of the net growth in renters (4.0 million) was among households earning less than $25,000. Even so, the number of new renters earning $50,000 or more increased nearly as much (3.3 million), including 1.6 million households earning $100,000 or more. Top-income households have been the fastest growing segment over the past three years, but still make up only an 11 percent share of all renters.

Notes: Couples include both married and unmarried partners. Families with children include single parents and couples with children under age 18. Data are three-year rolling averages. Source: JCHS tabulations of US Census Bureau, 2013–2015 Current Population Surveys.

100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0

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