Rental Housing Becomes More Accessible

A new study from RENTCafé highlights the U.S. cities witnessing the highest rental housing accessibility rates.

The U.S. median income provides renters nationwide with burden-free access to almost half of all rentals, as RENTCafé points out in their latest study. While median gross rents went up 16 percent from 2011 to 2017, median incomes for renter households have also witnessed a 26 percent bump, according to U.S. Census statistics. As a result, 49 percent of all U.S. rentals are now burden-free accessible to the median-income renter.

Renters in tech hub Raleigh, N.C., have seen the most staggering boost in the median income during the time period analyzed, increasing accessibility to 71 percent of the city’s rental stock, the highest of all U.S. cities. The second highest rate is in San Francisco, where the median renter household income of $92,123, allows for access to 68 percent of rental apartments. Home to a booming job market, San Francisco also saw its median house prices go up to $1.5 million, which has pushed more people to choose renting. At the moment, San Francisco is a city of wealthy renters with about 65 percent of its population living in rentals. Other markets like Omaha, Neb.; Columbus, Ohio; and Oklahoma City, also have some of the best accessibility rates in terms of access to rentals for middle-income earners.

Despite the notable increase in accessible rentals witnessed by 40 of the top 50 largest cities, in nine cities median-income renters saw fewer options than in the past, RENTCafé found. Among them are New Orleans and Philadelphia with a low accessibility rate of 16 percent, Detroit with 21 percent, and Miami with 23 percent.