10 US Cities Where High-Income Rentals Are Growing Fastest

Paul Ausick

Among U.S. households with more than $150,000 in annual income, the percentage of renters has been growing faster than percentage of owners. In 2010, for example, owner-occupied households grew by 0.9% compared with growth of 7% in renter-occupied households. In 2015, renter numbers rose 12.2% compared with growth of 8.3% in owner numbers.

The gap has been narrowing since 2011 when renting outpaced owning by 9.3 percentage points. The number of households earning more than $150,000 a year rose by 217% between 2005 and 2015, but the number of homeowners in that group rose by just 82%.

The data were reported earlier this week by RentCafé, a national apartment search website. The researchers noted that comparing 2014 to 2015, 12% more households with incomes of more than $150,000 chose to rent rather than buy. Only those earning less than $50,000 in annual income chose to buy rather than rent, and the margin was just 2%. In general, though, the share of renters earning less than $50,000 annually represents the largest group based on annual income.

RentCafé compiled a list of ten large U.S. cities where high-income renter-occupied housing grew fastest. In only one, Detroit, did owner-occupied housing grow at a faster rate. Here’s the list of changes between 2014 and 2015, ranked by renter increase.

  1. Fort Worth, Texas: 77% increase in renters; 13% increase in owners
  2. Portland, Oregon: renters up 71%; owners up 7%
  3. Memphis, Tennessee: renters up 51%; owners up 8%
  4. Phoenix, Arizona: renters up 41%; owners up 10%
  5. Chicago, Illinois: renters up 36%; owners up 9%
  6. San Francisco, California: renters up 35%; owners up 12%
  7. San Jose, California: renters up 32%; owners up 12%
  8. Austin, Texas: renters up 31%; owners up 14%
  9. Charlotte, North Carolina: renters up 29%; owners up 3%
  10. Detroit, Michigan: renters up 29%; owners up 34%

The big increase in ownership in Detroit may be due in large part to the low home prices that continue to prevail. And the large number of high-income renters in places like San Francisco and San Jose likely testify to the sky-high prices for homes in the region.

View RentCafé’s full report at the firm’s website for more details