Although they’re more common in suburban settings, single-family rentals have been abundant in most of the nation’s biggest urban centers. When RENTCafe looked at increases in the number of renter-occupied households by type, they found that in 22 of the 30 largest U.S. cities single-family rentals expanded faster than apartments between 2007 and 2016.
With some of the largest numbers of foreclosures and sharpest drops in home values during the housing bust, the city of Phoenix tops the list of cities with the biggest percentage increase in single-family rentals. According to U.S. Census estimates, the number of houses for rent in Phoenix increased by a whopping 77% (from 56,900 in 2007 to 100,800 in 2016). Phoenix saw about 44,000 single-family homes turn into rentals during this 10-year period, the largest gain among the 30 cities analyzed.
While everyone’s been waiting for homeownership, rental homes have become “Plan B” for those anxious to break out of their apartments, and can’t buy a house yet.. A little over half of the total number of single-family home rentals on the U.S. market are occupied by families: married couples and parents with minor children.
Houses are also the rental of choice for many single people who want to share the cost of rent with other single roommates. This demographic represents almost half of the renters living in single-family houses today. Census data also shows that people from all generations are renting single-family homes: there is a large number of downsizing baby-boomers, older millennials who are starting to form households, as well as Generation X-ers, who already have families with children.