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20 Insightful Apartment Statistics 2020

Even if homeownership is considered part of the American dream, that doesn’t mean that the rental industry is at any risk. In fact, in some areas, the rental market is growing. Many cities seemingly have new apartment buildings open on a near-daily basis, creating more space for the influx of people who want to call the area home.

But the rental landscape is actually much more complex. Whether you are looking for an apartment, are currently a landlord, or are considering getting into this segment of the real estate market, here are 20 intriguing apartment statistics you should know.

1. 37 Percent of Renters Live in Apartments

In the United States, 37 percent of renters are in apartment buildings (with five or more units). That’s approximately 39.7 million people

(Source: National Multifamily Housing Council)

2. The Average Monthly Rent for One-Bedroom Apartments Is $962

In the United States (as of May 2020), one-bedroom apartments come with an average price tag of $962. If you look at two-bedroom properties instead, the cost crosses the four-figure mark, coming in at $1,194.

(Source: Apartment List)

3. The Median Household Annual Income of Apartment Renters is $39k

When it comes to household incomes, apartment renters come in last at just over $39,000 a year. That’s approximately $23,000 less than the average household income in the United States, which comes in above $62,000.

Source: National Multifamily Housing Council)

4. Renters Dedicate More of Their Income to Housing

In comparison to apartment owners or homeowners, renters use more of their income to cover housing costs. A surprising 42 percent of renters spend over one-third of their household income on rent. On the other side of the equation, owners usually only direct 24 percent of their household income to their mortgage.

(Source: Freddie Mac

5. 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 percent smaller than the average just ten years ago.

One bedroom units are 4 percent less spacious, while studios are a shocking 10 percent 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 percent smaller.

(Source: Rent Café)

6. 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 percent 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)

7. One Investment Trust Owns Over 100,000 Apartments

When it comes to owning apartments, real estate investment trusts (REITs) take the cake. These companies earn an income through the real estate they own, usually by also operating the property. There are about 226 REITs throughout the United States, holding a cumulative $821 billion in real estate assets. But MAA, an REIT out of Tennessee, is the largest, with 100,031 apartments in their possession as of 2020.

(Source: Statista)

8. Mesa, AZ Has the Fastest Growing Rents

Mesa, AZ – which is just outside of Phoenix – outpaced every other city when it came to rent growth. Year-over-year (as of May 2020), rent growth hit 3.4 percent. Phoenix actually came in third, with 2.3 percent, only slightly beaten out by second place Colorado Springs, Colorado. Rounding out the top five are El Paso, Texas, and Nashville, Tennessee, both with 2.1 percent growth rates.

(Source: Apartment List)

9. 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 percent 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)

10. 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 percent 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)

11. 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)

12. 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)

13. 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)

14. 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. A shocking 84 percent 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

15. 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)

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

The biggest motivator for moving in the eyes of renters is cheaper rent. About 47 percent 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 percent of renters saying that is what motivated them. Plus, they use renter satisfaction to determine where to go next, with 72 percent of prospective renters exploring a property’s website and 79 percent of them admitting that bad ratings or reviews led them to look elsewhere.

(Source: Appfolio)

17. Only 37 Percent 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 percent of owners have homeowners insurance, only 37 percent 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)

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

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

(Source: Porch)

19. 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)

20. 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.