As September rolls along, the NRHC is marking National Month for Renters by working to spread awareness and share information about the importance of renters to the American housing economy. Here are a few facts you might not know about renting in America:
- More than one in three Americans is a renter: Over the past several decades, the homeownership rate in the United States has largely fluctuated between 60 and 70 percent. The homeownership rate of 3 percent in Q2 2018 is below the peaks of the mid-2000s but higher than it was for significant portions of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Overall, rental housing provides a home for over 40 million households and over 100 million individuals in the United States.
- Many people prefer renting for its flexibility and affordability: Research published in April by the Terner Center for Housing Affordability at the University of California, Berkeley found that people often choose to rent because it offers flexibility and affordability. Many respondents to the research noted the importance of renting as a way to facilitate major life transitions, including aging and/or changes in family composition, and many said they choose to rent single family homes for their size and amenities, and because they provide the benefits associated with “homeownership” neighborhoods, including access to good jobs, good neighborhoods and good schools.
- Renting can be a path to homeownership: While the industry offers a quality housing option to those who don’t wish to own a single-family home, SFR also exists on a continuum of housing options and many of our renters will eventually become homeowners. Eighty percent of those surveyed by the Berkeley researchers expressed a desire to own a home within five years. Rather than crowding out homeownership, the single-family rental industry serves as a bridge for thousands of renters to obtain the benefits of a single-family home before they are ready to purchase.
A vibrant housing market is one that provides all Americans with as many quality options as possible – renters are an important piece of this equation and deserve the same support and choice as homeowners. Single-family rental is a vital and growing segment of the housing market that offers millions of American families access to a quality housing choice.