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The Apartment & Home Rental Landscape – What Do Renters Want?

Everyday the world of renting a home or an apartment changes with the wants and needs of the renters.  ~The questions are, “What do renters truly want from their homes?” and “What is the current status of the rental market?

Vacancy and Rental:

The increase in renters from 2000 shows that people are renting more frequently, though there are still states with a great number of vacant apartments.

  • 34.9% of housing units in the U.S. are rented. [2]
  • The average person in a one bedroom rental pays $900 a month at the center of a city. [3]
    •  That same person outside of the city pays $697 on average a month.

The Top 5 States For Vacancies and the Percentage Increase In Number of Renters since 2000: [1]

Vacancies Renters
South Carolina 14.3% 29.6%
Florida 13.2% 27.7%
Nevada 13.0% 41.1%
Arizona 12.9% 33.2%
Georgia 12.3% 26.0%

– Vacancy rates and %age increase in renters information indicates that the areas have plenty of both vacancies and renters.*% Increase in number of renters since 2000

Average Cost of Renter in Popular Cities:

Americans pay a pretty penny for their lifestyle in the country’s largest cities. – On average, those renting a home or an apartment use over 20% of their income to pay for their living space.[3]

Cost of Rent For an Apartment Per Month [4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]

1 Bed(CC)* 1 Bed (OCC)* 3 Bed(CC)* 3 Bed (OCC)*
Minneapolis, MN $945 $575 $900 $875
Chicago, IL $1,358 $881 $2,662 $1,397
Orlando, FL $809 $725 $1,409 $1,067
Dallas, TX $914 $674 $1,600 $1,316
Atlanta, GA $972 $703 $1,750 $1,237
Memphis, TN $795 $762 $1,625 $1,170

*CC: City Center, OCC: Outside City Center

Why Do Americans Move to New Neighborhoods
Of well over 12 million renters polled in a 2009 American Housing Survey: [10]

  • Over 20% relocated for their job.
  • Around 25% or respondents relocated to be closer to good schools, leisure activities, public services and transportation or a friend or relatives location.
  • Close to 21% relocated because they liked the layout of the living space or design of the new neighborhoos.
  • 34% cited “other”, “all reasons”, or did not respond.

Reasons for Moving into a New Rental Home or Apartment Rental:[10]

1,448,000 of respondents cited their reason for moving as a combination of all factors listed.

Reason for Moving Number of Individuals Who Moved
Financial Reason 3,846
Room Layout/Design 1,743
Quality of Housing Structure 231
Kitchen 65
The View 412
Only Unit Available 608
Size 1,398
Exterior Construction 350
Other 2,198
Combination of All Factors 1,448

Cheapest and Most Expensive Cities to Live In:

– Total Respondents: 12,300,000: The US Census Bureau polled a total of 12,840,000 renters, of that 5400,000 did not respond.

Cheapest Cities Cost of Living Index Most Expensive Cities Cost of Living Index Difference in Rent Cost
Brownsville, TX 80 New York City, NY 218 +$2,744
Pueblo, CO 84.1 Honolulu, HI 171 +$1,866
Ft. Hood, TX 84.8 San Francisco, CA 164 +$2,189
Springfield, IL 86 Washington, DC 141 +$1,343
Waco, TX 86 Fairbanks, AK 138 +$1,009


While most people choose to move based upon their financial situation, it certainly doesn’t mean amenities aren’t a concern. It’s hard to know exactly what every renter wants every time. However, growth of available housing units throughout the United States over the past twelve-year period has created more choices and better quality which in turn has led to a change in how people perceive renting.[13]


[1] http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-07.pdf
[2] http://2010.census.gov/news/pdf/20111006_housing_slides.pdf
[3] http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/country_result.jsp?country=United+States
[4] http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/city_result.jsp?country=United+States&city=Minneapolis%2C+MN
[5] http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/city_result.jsp?country=United+States&city=Chicago%2C+IL
[6] http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/city_result.jsp?country=United+States&city=Dallas%2C+TX
[7] http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/city_result.jsp?country=United+States&city=Orlando%2C+FL
[8] http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/city_result.jsp?country=United+States&city=Atlanta%2C+GA
[9] http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/city_result.jsp?country=United+States&city=Memphis%2C+TN
[10] http://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/h150-09.pdf
[11] http://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/cities-with-least-expensive-cost-of-living-2011/5.html#top
[12] http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/savings/moving-cost-of-living-calculator.aspx
[13] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/20/realestate/getting-started-the-income-restricted-apartment.html

This infographic was brought to you by ForRent.com and Homes.com.
There are millions of great apartments to rent and homes to buy in these areas as well as nationwide. Use Homes.com and ForRent.com to get started today.

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About Geneva McNamara:

Geneva McNamara joined Trader Publishing company in August, 2004 after she received her degree from Old Dominion University in History and Political Science. She has worked within the Search Engine Marketing & Search Engine Optimization departments of several Dominion Enterprise divisions. In 2011, She became the Senior Organic Search Analyst for ForRent.com.


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