Special Report

Big Cities Where The Fewest People Rent Their Homes

For the first time in the nation’s history, median rents in the United States crossed $2,000. According to a report from real estate listing site Redfin, the median rent on all apartments listed nationwide rose 15% nationwide compared to a year ago. For those millions of Americans who do not have the stability afforded to them through homeownership, rising rent, along with inflation and other pandemic-related causes that have driven up housing costs, will take a serious financial toll.

A little over one-third of U.S. households live in rented homes. However, in some parts of the country, renting is so uncommon that this spike in rental prices will have a relatively small impact.

To determine the 50 metropolitan areas with the lowest rental rates, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed five-year estimates of the share of housing units that are occupied by renters from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey. Nationwide, 35.6% of housing units are occupied by renters. Among the 50 metro areas on this list, that figure ranges from 27.9% to as low as 11.4%.

Young people are far more likely to rent homes than buy. Well over half of all renters in the United States are under the age of 35, whereas that age group accounts for less than 10% of homeowners. Many of the metropolitan areas on this list have such low shares of renters because they have older populations.

According to the census, 23.2% of Americans are 18-34 years old. In all but four of the places on this list, that age group accounts for a smaller share of the population. In the The Villages, Florida metropolitan area, which has the lowest rental rate among metro areas, 8.6% of the population is 18-34, the lowest percentage among all U.S. metropolitan areas.

Florida has by far the most metropolitan areas on this list, with 11. Michigan is second with six, and Pennsylvania and West Virginia have four each. All four states rank as having relatively old populations, with Florida and West Virginia falling in the top five. This is the youngest county in every state.

In a number of metro areas where a lower share of housing units are rentals, especially those that are not as disproportionately young, property is relatively inexpensive and many residents who in other parts of the country might have been forced to rent are able to buy a home.
The U.S. median home value is $229,800. In 38 of the 50 metropolitan areas on this list, that value is lower. These are 25 cities where homes are selling the fastest.

Click here to see big cities where the fewest people rent their homes

To determine the metros with the lowest share of renters, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed five-year estimates of the share of housing units that are occupied by renters from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey.

We used the 384 metropolitan statistical areas as delineated by the United States Office of Management and Budget and used by the Census Bureau as our definition of metros.

Metropolitan areas were ranked based on the percentage of housing units that are occupied by renters. To break ties, we used the number of housing units that are occupied by renters. 

Additional information on median rental cost, median home value, and median household income are also five-year estimates from the 2020 ACS. Because the Census Bureau didn’t release one-year estimates for 2020 due to data collection issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, all ACS data are five-year estimates.

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