Renters in the USA are starting to look for cheaper housing options outside city centres, causing rents to rise faster in the suburbs than in urban areas.
The trend is more prominent in booming housing markets where rent affordability is worsening. For example, rents in the Nashville, San Francisco and Seattle metro areas are growing faster in the suburbs than in more central areas, as rising costs force renters further out of the city.
During the past ten years, the share of income needed for the median rent payment in the San Francisco metro has increased from 34 to 44%, while in the Seattle metro, the share has increased from 26 to 32%.
In fact rent affordability is a significant issue for renters across the United States. In many major cities, the share of income needed to pay rent well surpasses 30%.
“Because walkable urban centers close to amenities are typically a big draw for renters, you’d expect rents to rise faster in the city than in the suburbs – which is exactly what we’ve been seeing until very recently,” said Zillow’s chief economist Dr. Svenja Gudell.
“But a handful of factors are helping turn the tables and beginning to push suburban rents up at a higher clip. These include deteriorating rental affordability in expensive urban cores; new apartments, albeit high-end ones, opening downtown compared to relatively few in outlying areas; and preferences among some renters toward the space offered by single-family homes in the suburbs.”
An increase in multifamily construction has slowed rent growth across the USA, with rents rising at their slowest pace in five years. The suburbs often offer larger apartments and more single-family homes for rent with more space — about 19% of all single-family homes in the USA are rentals, up from 13% in 2005.