Renters Now a Majority in 23 Cities, Including Seattle

Renters became a majority in 23 cities over the past decade even as ownership increased, according to a new study by Rent Café.

“We looked at 10 years of U.S. Census housing data to determine where we stand now in terms of renter and owner population. Renting made significant gains in the last decade but dipped in the latter half, reaching a 7-year low in 2019. In the meantime, ownership rose to an all-time high, slowly rebounding after the great recession,” Rent Café said in the study.

Renters took over 23 cities with more than 100,000 residents between 2010 and 2019. Established hotspots such as Seattle or up-and-comers like Memphis and Pittsburgh transitioned from an owner to a renter majority.
In a surprising turn, Chicago, Sacramento, Reno, and Baltimore are among the 12 new owner-majority cities.
Looking at the cities with the fastest-growing share of renter population, four of the top 10 cities are in Texas. Frisco and Plano are in the lead with a 41 percent and 59 percent change since 2010. On the other side, ownership gains were much smaller; Hartford, Conn. saw the largest increase in owner share, 27 percent.

Renting made significant gains in the past decade but dipped in the last 5 years

The renter population grew by eight million in the last decade, and is now 107 million strong.

Specifically, renters currently make up 33.6 percent of the U.S. population — up from 33 percent in 2010. However, the latest numbers are far from the 2015 peak in renting, when 111 million Americans rented their homes for a 35.5 percent share. In fact, the number of renters reached a seven-year low at the end of the decade.

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