The Statistic That’s Redefining Rental Housing


Apparently the days of rental housing being utilized largely by young adults are behind us. According to new data from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies more than half of U.S. renters are over the age of 40. In 1995 the share of renters over the age of 40 was 43 percent. According to the researchers, there are multiple factors contributing to this trend:

This finding in a report released Wednesday by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies overturns the assumption that the rental boom is only the result of twenty-somethings flocking to hip urban centers. Single-family houses are a growing share of rentals. And affordability problems are mounting as rents rise faster than wages, while apartment construction increasingly targets tenants with six-figure incomes…

The increase in older renters corresponds with a surge in foreclosures after the housing bubble popped. Since the 2008 financial triggered by the housing bust, there have been roughly 6 million completed foreclosures, according to CoreLogic, a property data firm.

Many of these are former owners transitioned to renting.

“Middle-aged households in particular bore a big brunt of the housing crash,” said Christopher Herbert, managing director of Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.

But Herbert also noted that more of the baby boomers born after World War II are growing older, which has also caused sharp increases in the number of renters between the ages of 55 and 69 during the past 10 years. During that same period, the United States has added a total of 9 million renters — including younger millennials recent out of college.

The report also noted the rise in rents due to a tight housing supply as a contributing factor as well.