According to an article in DCist, North Bethesda, Maryland saw a 26% increase in the share of renters between 2010 and 2019, and it could go renter-majority in the next five years, the analysis says. Gaithersburg, Maryland is heading in the same direction.
“The very definition of suburban living has been rewritten throughout the last decade as suburbs in the nation’s 50 largest metros gained 4.7 million people since 2010 — a whopping 79% of whom were renters,” writes Adrian Popa, a writer for RENTCafé. “What’s more, between 2010 and 2019, the number of suburban renters grew by 22% — a number that dwarfs the 3% increase in suburban homeowners during the same period.”
The study attributes the change to a growing number of residents — especially younger people — priced out of the housing market. Nationally, more than half of suburban renters are younger than 45 with median household earnings around $50,000, according to RENTCafé. Other factors not addressed in the analysis could also be at play, including an increased supply of rental stock in newly developing neighborhoods, changing lifestyle preferences, and rising urban rents that send tenants to the suburbs.
Dozens of other suburban areas could flip to renter-majority in the coming years, encouraged in part by the pandemic, which prompted some cooped-up city dwellers to seek out more square footage.
At the same time, the national homeownership rate is growing, albeit slightly, and particularly among younger adults, other data show. Homeownership grew by slightly less than 1 percentage point among households under age 35 over the past year, according to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, with households ages 35 to 44 seeing a half percentage point increase. But sharp increases in housing prices have shut lower-income homebuyers out of the market. In D.C., for example, renters had to earn 120% of the area median income — nearly $150,000 — to afford the median-priced home in 2019.