Rental Application Approval Rates Increased in the Last 3 Years

Rental application approvals have been increasing since 2014, according to a recent study by RENTCafé of tenant screening data provided by RentGrow.
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Rental application approvals have been increasing since 2014, according to a recent study by RENTCafé of tenant screening data provided by RentGrow. The percentage of applications that were approved nationally rose from 81.7 percent in 2014 to 83.2 percent in 2017. An improvement in the quality of tenants and the surge of new apartments that need to be filled are the main factors behind the change. Additionally, average credit scores of prospective tenants have also improved from 612 in 2014 to 628 in 2017.

A generational breakdown showed that Gen-X applicants have the lowest approval rates, 77.5 percent, followed by Millennials (82.8%), Baby Boomers (83.8%), The Silent Generation (91.2%), while the youngest generation just entering the rental market, Gen-Z’s or Centennials, have the highest approval rates (91.8%).

About 60% of those who applied for a lease in 2017 are Millennials, 14.4 percent are Gen-X-ers, 13.4 percent are Baby Boomers, 9.2 percent are Centennials — which is also the renter generation that is increasing the most –, and last are the Silent, who represent only 2.7 percent of those applying for rent.

Rental applicants are most likely to be approved for an apartment in Seattle — the city with the highest approval rate in the country at 93.7 percent. An active, high-priced rental market popular with Millennials, Seattle has 78.5 percent of applications coming from the Millennial generation. Second with most approvals is another fast-growing rental market, Portland, with a 91.1 percent approval rate and over 70 percent of applications submitted coming from Millennials. Third are rentals in San Diego, where 90.4 percent of applications end up in a lease.

At the opposite end are Scottsdale, Ariz.; Detroit and Arlington, Texas; with the most rejections of applications for apartment leases. Typically, cities with the lowest approval rates are markets with limited apartment supply, RENTCafé found.