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SFR Tenants Aren’t Who They Used to Be. And Many Wish They Weren’t Renting At All

By Melea VanOstrand

May 31, 2022 at 07:43 AM

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Millennials and blue-collar workers comprise much of the renter demographic.

The profile of the single-family renter is shifting as the COVID-19 pandemic has generated higher expectations around amenities and quality of life as residents spend more time at home.

And although a move to the suburbs was already happening before the pandemic, the drive to single-family rentals has only accelerated, according to panelists at IMN’s Single-Family Rent Forum (East).

Addressing an audience at Loews Miami Beach Hotel last week, the panelists said the average-single family renter in many markets is now between the ages of 24 and 40, a change from earlier profiles.

Millennials and blue-collar workers comprise much of the renter demographic, with salaries averaging $60,000 to $70,000 a year. The number of single-parent homes in the rental market is also increasing.

Another group of people who have shifted to renting are those who sold their homes for a big payout but are now stuck renting because they couldn’t find a home to move into due to short supply.

No matter what the demographics are or what you’re aiming for, it’s crucial to have a strategy and find a way to track it, according to Justin McCarty, COO of Bungalow Living, headquartered in San Francisco.

Westport Capital Partners principal Howard Fife said millennials who have one to three kids, maybe a pet, and care about the local school system are staying an average of four years in single-family rentals. Renters over the age of 55 are staying longer and taking better care of their properties.

But with rising mortgage rates leaving many Americans paying an average of $500 more a month for housing over the last few months, more people are renting by necessity rather than choice.

“The people who are renting by necessity are typically more blue collar,” said Andy Zhu, director of business development at Pentagon Holdings. “They can’t afford a house right now so they have to rent.”

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