The cost of buying a home was 55% higher in May than the year before, both as a result of prices increasing and higher mortgage rates, the National Association of Realtors reported. And rates have continued to rise since. For many Americans, renting is the only financially feasible choice. However, rents have also skyrocketed, and in some places where renting is relatively uncommon, there are very few rental properties available.
To determine the towns 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. We defined towns as census places having at least 1,000 people and less than 25,000 people.
Nationwide, 35.6% of housing units are rental properties. Among the 50 cities on this list, that figure ranges from 3.5% to an estimated 0.0% of housing units. New Jersey and New York tie for having the most towns on this list, with seven each. Illinois is third, with five.
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 towns 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. This age group accounts for a smaller share of the population in all of the places considered for this list. In six of the places on this list, 18-34 year olds account for less than 10% of the population. In Mission Hills, Kansas, home to the highly affluent country club of the same name, a reported 0.0% of housing units are occupied by renters. Just 6.6% of local residents are 18-34. These are the places U.S. retirees are moving.
Another reason rental rates are low in these places is likely that so many families can afford to own their homes. The U.S. median household income is $64,994. All but one of the places on this list have higher median household incomes, including Chevy Chase, Maryland, where the typical household has an income greater than $250,000, the highest figure reported by the Census. This is the richest town in every state.
To determine the towns 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.
We used census “place” geographies — a category that includes incorporated legal entities and census-designated statistical entities. We defined towns based on population thresholds — having at least 1,000 people and less than 25,000 people.
Towns were ranked based on the percentage 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.
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