Wanna-be Millennial first-time buyers rented more in 2021 than they have in five years.

High-Earning Millennials Found Renting to be Only Option in 2021

Despite Millennials becoming the highest share of first-time home buyers in 2021, high-earning Millennials (with an annual income of more than $50,000/year), submitted 39% of all rental applications in 2021, according to RentCafe.  This share of 39% is their largest share in the rental market in five years.

The highly competitive pandemic housing market has not been kind to Millennials, even though many among this demographic have the income and down payment to buy.

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Millennials, of course, are not the only demographic renting more in 2021 as we saw rental vacancies plummet and rent prices skyrocket during the year.  But, the Millennial rental-market share of 39% increased by +20% over a year and dwarfed the +12% rental growth of Gen-Xers and the +7% rental growth of Boomers, all meeting the same income threshold.  According to John Burns, founder of John Burns Real Estate Consulting, the rental market in 2021 was hotter than the housing market.

Where Did Millennials Rent in 2021

Just as Millennial homebuyers favored smaller cities and towns, RentCafe, in its recent study, found that Millennial renters favored smaller cities with populations under 300,000.


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RentCafe analyzed 5.9M rental applications from RentGrow, inc. over 40,000 apartment communities.  Among the top 15 cities ranked by growth in rental applications, 11 of the top cities were small, three were medium-size with populations of 300,000 – 600,000 and one was large.

Take a look:

Millennial Rental Surge

% Share Change                City                     City Size

  1. +83%                         Macon GA                   Small
  2. +78%                         Mesa AZ                     Midsize
  3. +75%                         Spokane WA               Small
  4. +72%                        Kentwood MI               Small
  5. +71%                        Knoxville TN                Small
  6. +61%                        Columbus GA              Small
  7. +61%                        Arlington TX                Midsize
  8. +59%                        Peoria AZ                     Small
  9. +59%                        Bradenton FL              Small
  10. +54%                        Smyma GA                  Small
  11. +54%                        Lexington KY               Midsize
  12. +54%                        Daytona Beach FL       Small
  13. +53%                        Marietta GA                Small
  14. +53%                        Murfreesboro TN        Small
  15. +51%                        Indianapolis IN            Large

Thanks to RentCafe and The New York Times.




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