Zumper, the largest privately held rental platform in the U.S. used by more than 13 million renters a month, released the findings of its 2019 “State of the American Renter” report, which examines the current status of the U.S. rental market and the shifting mindset of renters. Specifically, the report focuses on the concept of the “American Dream” and how it affects rental behaviors related to transiency, happiness and work, as well as renters’ perspectives on rental rates, savings and cost of living.
Zumper surveyed more than 10,000 respondents age 18-plus from all 50 U.S. states as well as Washington, D.C. The survey was sent to Zumper and PadMapper users based in the United States and shared among their family and friends from May 2019 to June 2019. All responses were gathered online.
“Over the past several years we have started to see a shift toward renting becoming an integral component of the American Dream,” said Anthemos Georgiades, CEO and co-founder of Zumper. “One in three respondents confirmed that they believe the American Dream no longer involves owning a home. Despite high rent prices across the country, renting is still proving to be more cost effective and allows renters to prioritize flexibility over commitment.”
The full 2019 “State of the American Renter” report can be found here.
Key findings and themes:
- The idea that the “American Dream” involves homeownership is continuing to shift – Overall, 32% of respondents said they do not believe that the American Dream involves homeownership, which is in line with Zumper’s previous reports. This continued trend signals a shift away from owning a home as part of the American Dream, and reveals new trends in the renter lifestyle. In fact, one in five respondents confirmed they do not have plans to buy a home in their lifetime. And, only 30% of respondents said they planned to buy a home in the next two years, which is down 14 points from the 2018 Renter Report (44%).
- People are choosing to rent instead of own due to finances and preferred flexibility – Overwhelmingly, 62% of respondents ranked “financial situation” as the top reason they rent instead of own, followed by 22% who prefer the flexibility renting brings, and 20% who simply do not want the responsibility of homeownership. The younger people are, the more flexibility is a factor when choosing to rent instead of own. As renters get older, the chances of them buying get smaller, making them long-term renters.
- Even though rent prices continue to increase across the country, the majority of renters are happy with their living situation – 54% of respondents said they think they are getting a good deal on their apartment, which correlates favorably to overall renter satisfaction, with 55% of renters being satisfied with their rental. The five cities with happiest renters overall are: Miami, FL; Oakland, CA; Austin, TX; San Jose, CA and Philadelphia, PA.
- While renter satisfaction remains the norm, there seems to be a discrepancy between how much of their income renters think they should spend on rent versus what they are actually spending – The vast majority, 88% of respondents, said they think one should spend up to 30% of their income on rent, however, one in three respondents find themselves spending more than 31% of their income on rent.
- Renters get additional support to pay for rent from roommates, significant others and parents – One in four respondents said they live with a roommate, and of those who have a significant other, 40% live with them. 13% of respondents reported living with their parents, up from last year’s report (10%). However, only 6% of respondents said that they still receive help from their parents with their rent, which is down 2% from last year’s report (8%).
- As more people choose to rent, lifestyles related to work and transiency are becoming more flexible – Surprisingly, 71% of respondents said they commute less than 30 minutes to work, and one in three said they work remotely. One in four respondents also said they plan to move to another city within the next year with the top destinations being Los Angeles, Atlanta and New York City.
Throughout the month of October, Zumper will be featuring an in-depth analysis of specific sections of the 2019 report on its blog.