Number of suburban renters up in US

Published: March 21, 2016

Number of suburban renters up in US

The US home ownership rate dropped to 63.7% in 2015, according to data from the US Census Bureau – down 0.8% from 2014 and a slight increase in decline over the previous year, which saw a 0.6% decline. The current rate marks a 5.3% fall from the peak of 69% in 2004, and bring the number of households that rent up to 37% – the highest it has been since the mid-1960s.

The ongoing decline in home ownership in the US, now in its second decade, shows no sign of stopping. Between 2014 and 2015, every age group with the exception of householders under age 25 (whose home ownership rate climbed by a fractional 0.1%) experienced a decline in home ownership. Experts attribute the decline to foreclosures, stagnant incomes and a tight credit market that followed the mortgage crisis.

While renting in urban areas has always been common, the gap between cities and the suburbs is narrowing. About 29% of metro-area suburbanites in the US were renters in 2014, up from 23% in 2006, according to a new report from New York University’s Furman Center and the bank Capital One.

The report focuses on metro areas in the county’s 11 most populous cities. While affordability is a factor, the study shows that seven of these 11 markets become more, not less, affordable, suggesting other contributing factors to the decision to rent, including less risk and greater flexibility. Download the report>