Record number of renters believe renting is more affordable than owning


A recent report from CoreLogic showed that home prices increased 4% year over year in December, and projected the U.S. price index will rise by 5.2% by December 2020.

As home prices continue to rise nationally, it’s little wonder that Freddie Mac’s latest “Profile of Today’s Renter and Owner” found that the majority of current renters believe renting is more affordable than owning.

However, the percentage of renters who hold that belief has increased dramatically in the past year.

A whopping 84% of renters said they believe renting is more affordable than owning – an all-time high for the survey. For comparison, this number is up 17 percentage points from February 2018.

The survey also found that affordability issues affect the average renter more than a homeowner. Freddie Mac said there are 42% of renters who paid more than a third of their household income on rent.

This is compared to only 24% of homeowners who spend that amount on mortgage payments.

But there is good news for renters looking to own. Given current low interest rates, 40% of renters said they plan to purchase a home.

“The housing market is strong and, based on our survey, the low mortgage rate environment may inspire both renters and owners to make an educated move this spring,” said David Brickman, Freddie Mac CEO. “While Baby Boomers tend to be satisfied with their current housing situation, younger generations are still struggling to determine whether to rent or purchase a home, largely due to lack of supply and affordability constraints.”

And that lack of supply stretches beyond single-family housing. Last year saw record-high occupancy rates in multifamily housing with a shortage of supply. Naturally, this drove rent growth. Many of the renters surveyed by Freddie Mac voiced their worry in this area.

Almost 70% of renters said they are growing more concerned about their rent going up in the next 12 months, while 68% are concerned about not being able to afford their larger expenses. Even so, according to the majority surveyed, renting is still the more affordable option.



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These markets will see dramatic multifamily supply hikes this year


Just a few weeks ago, RealPage revealed that the multifamily residential market will see the most starts it has seen in nearly 30 years in 2020.

Out of the nation’s 50 largest apartment markets, all but six will have more units completed this year than the last, RealPage said.

The most drastic supply hike is predicted to be in Los Angeles. In 2020, there are an expected 17,600 units coming in the City of Angels, the largest supply it has seen in more than 20 years. It’s also about double the average from the past decade.

This supply is much needed, as occupancy rates in Los Angeles have been at 96% for the past five years. Despite this, rent growth in Los Angeles has fallen to its lowest point since the start of this economic cycle, in 2019.

Washington, D.C. will gain 16,000 units in 2020, about 7,800 more than in 2019. Occupancies are at 96%, while rent growth has been below 2% for the past five years.

Houston is also expected to see over 16,000 new apartments in 2020, about 8,500 more units than last year. RealPage said that kind of bump is not surprising for a metro like Houston, which is experiencing rapid population growth. However, due to recent hurricanes and volatile oil prices, the market ended the year with a quarter of net move-outs that brought occupancy down to 93.6%.

Phoenix, Seattle and Fort Lauderdale, Florida are projected to see supply increase by about 4,000 units this year, with Phoenix and Fort Lauderdale both reaching a two-decade peak, RealPage said.

Seattle, meanwhile, is seeing a 20-year high, with 12,700 units set to be completed this year. San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland, California, will also all see significant increases in supply.



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