Market Insights

The Decade in Housing Trends: Methodology

Overview:

  • On a report level, data was sourced from our sister companies Yardi Matrix and PropertyShark, the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Census Bureau’s ACS 1-year and ACS 5-year estimates, and the U.S. News and World Report.
  • Methodologies and limitations were set for each section, depending on the scope of the research. All data sources and research methods are listed per section, below.
  • Numbers were subject to rounding

The Decade in Housing Costs

Sections 1-2

1. The national average rent increased by 36% in the past decade / 2. Home prices rose faster than rents in all the nation’s largest cities

  • Rent data was provided by our sister division Yardi Matrix, a business development and asset management tool for brokers, sponsors, banks and equity sources underwriting investments in the multifamily, office, industrial and self-storage sectors.
  • Median sale price values were provided by PropertyShark.com and cover residential transactions for condo, co-ops, and single- and two-family homes closed in 2010 and 2018, respectively. 2019 value represents the CPI-adjusted value for 2018.
  • Median household income source: U.S. Census Bureau, ACS 1-year estimates.
  • College tuition data was sourced from the U.S. News & World Report.
  • We looked at the top 50 largest US cities. To generate the cities table, we took into account only the cities with available data for the whole decade.

The Decade in Housing Trends

1. The number of American renters surpassed 100M this decade

  • Population data for 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990, and 2000 was sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau (Decennial Censuses).
  • Population data for 2010 and 2018, we used the US Census Bureau’s ACS 1-year estimates.

Sections 2-4

2. The renter population grew twice as fast as the owner population / 3. Renters became the majority population in 20 cities in the past decade / 4. More than half of the cities with the largest share of renters are on the Northeastern Coast

  • National-level population data was sourced from the 2010 and the 2018 U.S. Census Bureau’s ACS 1-year estimates.
  • For the city rankings, we compared the number of people living in renter- and owner-occupied housing units in the 260 largest US cities (with a population of 100,000 or more) in 2010 and 2018.

5. More high-earning Americans are renting than ever

  • Income data by tenure at a city and national level was sourced from the 2010 and 2018 U.S. Census Bureau’s ACS 1-year estimates.
  • To generate the top 20 cities with the fastest growth in the number of high-earning renter households, we looked at the largest increases in the number of renter households earning more than $150,000/year in the 50 most populous US cities.

6. The number of homeowner families with children dropped significantly

  • Demographic data was sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 and 2018 ACS 1-year estimates.
  • For this research, we looked at the changes in the number of households between 2010 and 2018.
  • Terminology – as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau:
    • Families with children include married coupled households with kids, single male (no wife present) with children, single female (no husband present) with children (children under age of 18).
    • Families with no children include married couples households no kids, single male (no wife present) no kids, single female (no wife present) no kids (no children under age of 18).
    • Non-families include a householder living alone (a one-person household) or where the householder shares the home exclusively with people to whom he/she is not related.

7. Renting has increased in popularity among older households

  • Tenure of occupied housing units by age was sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 and 2018 ACS 1-year estimates at a national and city level.
  • To compare the data, we created 3 age groups, aggregated from existing age groups, and analyzed the results from 2010 and 2018.
  • To generate the top 20 cities with the fastest aging renter household growth, we analyzed the changes among each age group in the 50 largest U.S. cities.

8. An increasing number of renters are living the suburban life

  • Tenure of occupied housing units was sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 and 2017 ACS 5-year estimates.
  • Census Places and Metro Areas were sourced from U.S. Census Tiger Files.
  • We defined “suburbs” as Census Places that are not principal cities. We did not include rural, unincorporated areas, and places with less than 1,000 households in 2010 or 2017.
  • For this research, we looked at changes in population in suburbs and principal cities in the 50 largest metro areas (which represent approximately 55% of the total U.S. population).

9. Apartment living is still the most popular among renters

  • Tenure of occupied housing units was sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010, and 2018 ACS 1-year estimates.
  • Terminology – as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau:
    • A single-family unit is defined as 1 unit attached or 1 unit detached.
    • A multi-family unit is defined as 1 unit in a building of 2 or more units, also referred to as an apartment.
    • A rental or rental unit is defined as a renter-occupied housing unit. Where the share of single-family units and the share of multi-family units do not add up to 100%, the remaining share is represented by other types of rentals (mobile, RV and van).
  • For this research, we looked at the changes in the share of multi- and single-family renters in cities with a population of 100,000 or more and 15,000 or more households in 2010.

10. The nation’s priciest metros have been shrinking in population in the past decade

  • Metro area-to-metro area migration flow data was sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 ACS 5-year estimate.
  • Domestic migration, also known as internal migration, is defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as the movement of people within national boundaries. It does not include changes in population owing to international immigration or natality.
  • For this research, we analyzed the net domestic migration changes (inbound migration minus outbound migration) in all U.S. metro areas with available data.

11. Millennials have left college towns for job hubs

  • Data was sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 and 2018 ACS 1-year estimates.
  • We defined millennials as people born between 1976 and 1995.
  • To generate the city rankings, we analyzed data for the 260 largest cities in the U.S.

The Decade in Construction Trends

1. Apartment construction thrived in the past decade

  • Construction data was provided by our sister company Yardi Matrix. Apartment projections for the year 2019 are calculated based on a Yardi Matrix proprietary algorithm which includes confirmed and likely completions for 2019 based on the issuance of a certificate of occupancy. Apartment projections are estimates and subject to change.
  • For the purpose of this study, we analyzed new apartment construction data across 134 U.S. metropolitan statistical areas. The study is based exclusively on apartment data related to buildings containing 50 or more units.
  • Luxury or high-end apartments are defined as units in Class A+ and Class A buildings.
  • Metros with less than 300 units or less than 2 properties/building were not included.

2. Apartments built in the past decade have been getting smaller

  • Apartment size and rent data were provided by Yardi Matrix.
  • City rankings are based on the top 100 U.S. cities with the largest stock of apartments (sometimes referred to as “largest cities for renters”) located in multi-family buildings of 50 units or more.
  • Cities where the number of units completed in one year was below 300 were not included.
  • To generate the chart depicting the changes in apartment size at the national level, we considered the average size of newly built apartments each year. Affordable housing properties were not included.
  • To measure the development trend in terms of new unit size, we compared 5-year trailing averages for 2010 and 2019 and analyzed the strength of the upward/downward trend in each of the 100 cities included in the study. With this algorithm, cities with volatile changes (due to slowdowns in construction) in the average size of new apartments were not included.
  • The city rankings for the largest and smallest apartments are based on the entire multifamily inventory in each market in 2010 and 2018.

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About the author

Irina Lupa

Irina Lupa is a creative writer for RENTCafé, where she covers market trends and topics relevant to today’s renters. Before developing a passion for real estate, she focused on fields ranging from automotive electronics to digital business development, digging into tech news from a critical perspective. Irina holds a B.S. in Journalism and Mass Communication. You can connect with Irina via email.

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