Renters Still Confident About Affordability

The vast majority of renters of all income levels feel either “very confident” or “somewhat confident” that they can stay in their homes as long as they want

By Mike Chamernik, Associate Editor | June 28, 2017
renters confident about affordability-photo of apartment building

Even with rising rents, especially in popular urban areas, the majority of renters aren’t too concerned about being priced out, according to the most recent Zillow Housing Aspirations Report, which found that 83 percent of renters are either “very confident” or “somewhat confident” that they can stay in their homes as long as they want. Just 13 percent said they are “not very confident,” and 4 percent said that they are “not at all confident.”

Even low-income renters believe that they can stay put. A combined 80 percent of low-income respondents said that they feel very or somewhat confident that they can continue living where they are, compared with 82 percent of median-income renters and 88 percent of high-income renters.

The survey received responses from renters across 20 major markets. In six markets, more than a quarter of low-income renters said they are not confident that they will be able to keep their homes: Los Angeles (37 percent), San Jose, Calif. (31), Dallas (28), San Diego (27), San Francisco (27), and New York City (25). With the exception of Dallas, at $1,750, the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment in each of these cities was more than $2,000, per May data from Apartment List, a website that aggregates apartment listings. Median rent for two-bedroom units in San Francisco and New York is more than $4,000, and median rent for one-bedroom units is more than $3,000.

As for median-income renters, 40 percent of respondents from San Jose say they aren’t confident that they will be able to live in their current homes in perpetuity—the highest rate in the surveyed group. Sizable shares of median-income renters in San Francisco (25 percent), Seattle (24), Los Angeles (23), and Denver (21) also say they aren’t confident about staying.

Of the major metros, high-income renters in Chicago, Denver, and San Jose (20 percent each) are the least confident that they will be able to stay in their homes.

Counting all income groups, Atlanta (9 percent), Boston (9), Detroit (11), Philadelphia (12), Phoenix (13), and Las Vegas (13) had the lowest shares of respondents who say they are not confident that they can stay. With the exception of Boston, at $3,400, rents in these markets are fairly affordable, at $1,760 or less for a typical two-bedroom apartment. Detroit ($680), Phoenix ($1,040), and Las Vegas ($1,050) had reasonable prices for two-bedroom units, per data from Apartment List.

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