24 Insightful Apartment Statistics – 2023

Apartments comprise a major share of the U.S. housing market, especially in American cities. But just like the rest of the housing market, apartments have seen a tumultous few years. In this article, we’ll dig into some key statistics about apartment buildings and the people who rent them.

1. 38% of Renters Live in Apartment Buildings

In the United States, 38% of renters live in in apartment buildings (with five or more units). That’s approximately 38.9 million people. An additional 17.4 million renters live in buildings comprising two to four units, making up an additional 17% of renters. As for the rest? 41% of all renters live in single-family residences, and another 5% of renters live in mobile homes.

(Source: National Multifamily Housing Council)

2. The Average Monthly Rent for One-Bedroom Apartments Is Over $1,100

In the United States (as of November 2022), one-bedroom apartments come with an average price tag of $1,163. If you look at two-bedroom properties instead, the cost goes up, coming in at $1,333.

(Source: Apartment List)

3. In Early 2022, Rents Rose 12% for New Tenants and 3.5% for Existing Tenants

In many cases, there are rules that limit how much a landlord can increase the rental price for an apartment on existing tenants renewing leases. As a result, during the first half of 2022, the average lease renewal price increase for existing tenants was 3.5%.

New renters typically lack these protections to shield them from rising rent prices. As a result, renters transitioning to a different apartment with a new landlord faced 12.2% rent increases during the first half of 2022.

(Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)

4. The Median Household Annual Income of Apartment Renters is $45k

When it comes to household incomes, apartment renters come in last at just over $45,151 a year. That’s more than $37,000 less than the average household income for household owners in the United States, which comes in above $82,210.

(Source: National Multifamily Housing Council)

5. Over 19 Million Renters Are Rent-Burdened

Many renters use more than the recommended percentage of their income to cover rent and related housing costs. Between 2017 and 2021, more than 40% of renters (approximately 19 million renters) were considered rent-burdened, spending more than 30% of their income on housing expenses.

(Source: United States Census Bureau)

6. The Average Apartment Space Per Person Is a Mere 526 Square Feet

When people look for new apartments, they commonly focus on the total square footage. However, the amount of space per person does impact comfort. On average, the amount of space per resident in a rental unit is a mere 526 square feet.

(Source: Rent Cafe)

7. The Average Apartment Size is Shrinking

As micro-apartment development continues, the average size of apartments is shrinking. The average new apartment is just 941 square feet, which is 5% smaller than the average just ten years ago.

One bedroom units are 4% less spacious, while studios are a shocking 10% tinier. But the shrinkage isn’t just occurring in studios or one-bedroom units. Every size apartment is compressing on average. For two-bedroom apartments, floor plans shrank less, but still got 0.5% smaller.

(Source: Rent Café)

8. Air Conditioning is the Most Sought-After Amenity

When it comes to amenities, renters want air conditioning above all else. In second and third, you have laundry in-unit and a dishwasher, respectively, showing just how valuable convenience appliances are in the eyes of tenants. On-site laundry comes in fourth, suggesting that renters might be willing to compromise. Rounding out the top five is assigned parking.

(Source: Zumper)

9. When Renters Move, It’s Usually for Cheaper Rent

The biggest motivator for moving in the eyes of renters is cheaper rent. About 47% of renters cited that looking for a lower price was their primary reason for switching apartment communities.

Issues with the quality of a property’s management came in second place, with 31% of renters saying that is what motivated them. Plus, they use renter satisfaction to determine where to go next, with 72% of prospective renters exploring a property’s website and 79% of them admitting that bad ratings or reviews led them to look elsewhere.

(Source: Appfolio)

10. The Largest REIT Owns 115,000 Rental Units

Real estate investment trusts (REITs) invest in multiple rental properties as a means of pooling funds for purchases and earning profits. Typically, the REITs don’t only own the properties; the trust also handles daily property operations. As a result, trusts can functionally become mega-landlords, overseeing hundreds or thousands of rentals.

In the United States, there are more than 200 REITs, representing a market capitalization of approximately $1.7 trillion. One REIT – Starwood Capital, a REIT headquartered in Miami, Florida – is the largest in the United States. In total, the trust had 115,000 units to its name in 2022.

(Source: Statista)

11. 59.6% of Apartments Come with 12-Month Leases

Among apartment rentals, 12-month leases are by far the most common. Overall, 59.6% of leases have a 12-month term. Another 31.8% are month-to-month

The rest of the lease terms can vary. Some are just six months, and a small portion may be shorter. However, some go as long as two years or more, and a 24-month lease is the most common among all of the atypical terms.

(Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)

12. Rent Prices Are Rising Fastest in Oklahoma City, Exceeding 24%

Out of the 50 most populous US metro areas, Oklahoma City, OK, is seeing rent prices rise the fastest. Rent asking prices rose 24.1% from September 2021 to September 2022.

Pittsburgh, PA, came in second with a 20% rise in prices, while Indianapolis, IN, was third with a 17.9% increase. Rounding out the top five are Louisville, KY, and Nashville, TN, with 17.5% and 17% increases, respectively.

(Source: New York Post)

13. New York Has the Highest Percentage of Apartment Renters

The Big Apple has a substantially higher percentage of apartment renters than any other state. About 24% of New York’s population call an apartment home. That’s more than 4.6 million New York state residents.

(Source: National Multifamily Housing Council)

14. But California Has the Most Apartment Dwellers

While California has a lower percentage of apartment renters than New York, that doesn’t mean it has fewer people living in apartments. The Golden State only has around 17% of its population in apartments, but that represents more than 6.7 million people or 2.1 million more than New York.

(Source: National Multifamily Housing Council)

15. When It Comes to Repairs, Only 89% of Renters Say Landlords Cover the Cost

While 89% is a pretty high number, that means 11% of renters don’t get property repairs handled by their landlord. In fact, 8.2% said they take care of it personally, while 2.3% pay professionals out of their own pocket to get the work handled.

(Source: Porch)

16. On Average, Landlords Screen Two Applicants per Every Property

Most landlords don’t put all of their eggs in one basket. Instead, they screen an average of two prospective renters for each property, giving them choices about who ultimately moves into the unit.

(Source: MySmartMove)

17. Single Women are Over One-Quarter of All Apartment Renters

About 5.2 million single women live in apartments. Since there are a little more than 19.5 million rental apartment households, single women make up around 27% of that market.

That’s a little more than one-quarter of all apartment rental households in the country. As a result, single women are actually the largest individual demographic, coming out ahead of men, married couples, single parents, and married couples with children.

(Source: National Multifamily Housing Council and National Multifamily Housing Council)

18. One-Bedroom Rents Are Highest in DC

For one-bedroom properties, the District of Columbia (Washington DC) actually beat out California for the highest rates, coming in at $1,503 (as of May 2020). In California, a one-bedroom rings up at $1,435 a month, putting the state in second place. Hawaii came in third with $1,447.

(Source: Apartment List)

19. But Two-Bedrooms Cost More in Hawaii

When it comes to the highest two-bedroom apartment rents, Hawaii’s average wins. It comes in at $1,899 (as of May 2020), beating California and the District of Columbia, which came in second and third, respectively.

(Source: Apartment List)

20. Seattle Has the Smallest Average Apartment While Tallahassee Has the Biggest

Seattle – the city which reigns supreme when it comes to having the tiniest apartments – has an average size of just 711 square feet. That’s 22 feet larger than the averages in Manhattan and Chicago.

On the other side of the spectrum is Tallahassee. There, the average apartment size comes in at a spacious 1,038 square feet. That’s over 300 square feet larger than Seattle’s average.

(Source: Rent Café)

21. Per Person, Santa Ana, Offers the Least Amount of Space

When it comes to the average amount of space per person in a rental apartment, Santa Ana, CA, apartments offer the least amount of room. On average, Santa Ana apartments provide a mere 292 sq. ft. per resident, partially due to its higher average number of household members living in the units, coming in at 2.9.

On the other side of the equation is Louisville, KY, which provides an average of 731 sq. ft. per household member. One reason the amount of room is larger in Louisville is that the city averages just 1.3 residents in a unit.[Source: Rent Cafe]

22. Renters Think They Are Making the Affordable Choice

Sometimes it’s a buyer’s market, sometimes it’s a renter’s. Right now, renters seem to believe they are in the better position. 84% of renters thought they chose the more affordable approach to housing. That’s an increase of 17 points since 2018, and is considered an all-time high.

(Source: Freddie Mac

23. Only 37% of Renters Have Renters Insurance

Property insurance is touted as critical for everyone. It provides a degree of protection against a variety of events, including theft and fire. While 97% of owners have homeowners insurance, only 37% of renters have renters insurance.

On average, renters insurance only costs $187 a year, or less than $16 a month. However, renters insurance isn’t usually mandatory. For many homeowners who are still dealing with a mortgage, insurance isn’t optional; it’s wrapped into their monthly mortgage payment. This could potentially account for some of the disparity.

(Source: Insurance.com and Value Penguin)

24. The Rentals is a Massive Industry But Is Outdone by Soft Drinks

In total, the United States rental market size is an astonishing $182.9 billion. But that’s a far cry from the $201.1 billion soft drink segment. While it may be an odd comparison, it gives a unique perspective, allowing you to better ascertain the industries size.

(Source: IBISWorld and Statista)

Bottom Line

Ultimately, the rental market is vast, and a decent amount of it is apartments. Renters are a diverse bunch, representing people from a variety of walks of life and spread all across the country. The statistics above showcase how intriguing the landscape is, as well as what people may encounter if they are in the market for a rental apartment.