Trends in Renting and Homeownership

(Note: while much of the advice in this article is timeless, certain information is current as of 2019.)

Each year, the housing market shifts a little, changing the factors regarding housing choices.To take some of the guesswork out of your moving decisions, here are some helpful things you should know:

Lower Occupancy in Non-Urban Areas

With past construction concluding and more housing available in many rural and suburban areas, renters are getting access to unprecedented choice and availability. While most still want to make their rental decision quickly, if a renter is looking for the perfect apartment and wants to wait for one to open up, the market will offer more options than in past years, with a less quick turnover due to demand.

More Options in Urban Areas

In urban areas, the demand for rental housing is still very high, despite many young people eventually wanting to own a home. Given that most young people can afford an apartment home in a nicer and more centrally located area than they could ever buy a house, demand for rental housing is still robust and creating entire communities of apartment renters.

That is a growth area for developers, so despite the intense competition for most-desired apartments, there are more options than before as developers complete new projects that offer downtown living to those who are not interested in purchasing or renting a house in the suburbs.

Millennials Are the Largest Renting Segment

While this has been true for a couple of years now, it is clear that the millennial generation composes the most significant segment of the rental market. That benefits all people looking for rentals this year since many apartment owners are catering to the desires of the millennial market for pet-friendly apartments, apartments with high-speed WiFi, and the ability to pay rent via a mobile app or the internet. These features make renting more natural and flexible for all age groups.

Mortgages may Be Less Appealing

With the new tax plan set to alter how mortgage interest is written off on United States taxes, the trend toward highly expensive home buying is set to slow, allegedly. For those living in expensive markets, it is better than ever to choose apartment living and rentals in particular, since the tax incentives toward purchasing an expensive home on a mortgage have diminished and made home ownership more costly in those areas. That is resulting in many people choosing to rent while they see how this tax change affects the markets over time.

Shifts Towards Low-Income and Middle-Income Housing Availability

With many luxury apartments available in most markets, the development focus may shift toward the lower end of the spectrum. That can mean larger numbers of low- and middle-income apartments will be available, specifically in the new construction field, which benefits those who are searching for affordable housing and mostly finding older buildings that could use updating. This is good news for anyone who has felt like they need affordable housing but are forced to reckon with a lack of options.

The Suburbs

Despite the romantic notions given to living downtown, the affordability and convenience of suburbs are drawing more eyes than ever in the rental market, reportedly.

The same rent money gets more square footage and more updated buildings in the suburbs, which has caused some to move out, especially those who have options for remote work some days to avoid substantial commutes.

At the same time, this shift is motivating developers to look at existing infrastructure and buildings to find architectural diamonds-in-the-rough and create modern apartments in buildings with lots of character. Keep your eyes peeled for apartments with all the contemporary conveniences that are bringing life back to neighborhoods that have lost some of their residents over the years.

Shop and Rent Online

Rentals will likely become less of a time-consuming, in-person paperwork process. Reportedly, the process of finding an apartment will take place through online search engines, and the best online search engines will also offer the option to fill out the entire rental agreement online.

Even the tour process is getting easier to do online, with 360 views of many apartments available, as well as high-resolution photographs of all the areas of the apartment. While most still want to see the unit in person to get the feeling for the place, it is increasingly possible to rent with confidence even if you haven’t seen the individual unit in person.

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