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2010-2019: The Decade Of Older, Richer Renters

The 2008 recession transformed America, as an onslaught of home foreclosures upended the American dream for millions of families. 

Now, more than a decade later, one thing is clear: the past 10 years quietly became the era of the renter, and multifamily took off as a result, a new report shows.

Data from RENTCafé shows just how much ground rentals gained from 2010 through 2019. Both the number of U.S. renters with incomes in the $150K-plus category, and renters aged 60-plus grew dramatically these past 10 years, the data provider said.  

In fact, the firm's report shows the number of high-income renters doubled in 46 major U.S. cities this past decade. Renter households in the 60-plus age category rose 32%, as older Americans turned to apartment facilities offering more flexibility and desired amenities.

As the age and incomes of U.S. renters rose, so did the nation's rental prices. 

The national average rent shot up 36%, or $390, over the past 10 years, as land values escalated and apartment amenities and designs raised overall costs, RENTCafé reported

During this same period, RENTCafé data shows rental rates grew at a faster clip than median home prices and incomes, which went up 31% and 27%, respectively.

The More Mature And Wealthy Rental Population 

The number of seniors over the age of 60 rose 50-plus percent in most major markets, including Dallas and Fort Worth. There the number of 60-plus renters rose 56% and 67%, respectively, over 10 years, the same study shows. 

Raleigh, North Carolina, alone saw a dramatic jump in senior renters, with the 60-plus category seeing 88% growth during the decade based on RENTCafé's findings. The cities of Jacksonville (82% increase), Austin (71%) and Phoenix (68%) also saw their number of total renters in the 60-plus category shoot up more than 65% over 10 years time, according to the study. 

Whether it's because of renters' increased age or demand for luxury apartments, the last decade also saw more high-income renters.  

Eleven U.S. cities saw the number of renters with $150K-plus incomes quadruple over 10 years, including Arlington, Texas, Raleigh, Fresno, California, Seattle, Omaha, Nebraska, Austin, Texas, Jacksonville, Florida, Sacramento, California, Charlotte, North Carolina, Oakland and Denver, RENTCafé found

The RENTCafé report debunks another myth about renters preferring urban areas over suburbs: 40 out of the 50 largest U.S. metros saw suburban rental households grow faster than  their urban counterparts during the same time period, RENTCafé reported.  

Click here for the full study.