Rental housing is among the top items on the national housing agenda. The past 30 years have witnessed a housing policy that has been focused on promoting homeownership. The large gap between the number of renting households and the units that they can afford will grow as home ownership becomes increasingly scarce for all but the most qualified buyers and renter/owner preferences change. Rental housing is an important component of national and local housing policies.
This section builds on Census Bureau data and provides resources to examine characteristics of the rental housing market for individual states and metropolitan areas. See related Web section with interactive table. The interactive table provides a selection of rental housing market attributes for each state and metro.
Rental Vacancy Rate by MSA 2012
This view shows the rental vacancy rate (RVR) in 2012 by MSA. Orange/red metros have higher RVRs, yellow metros are closer to the national RVR and green/blue metros have lower RVRs. Click graphic for larger view with details.
This view shows 521 metros (MSAs and MISAs) — all 2010 vintage metros for which ACS 2012 1 year estimates were tabulated. See southeastern U.S. zoom-in view (shows mini-profile for Atlanta metro attributes). These views were developed using the CV XE GIS and metro GIS project. Members of the User Group may install the CV XE GIS and metro project and create related, augmented map views and perform related analyses. There is no fee.
The rental vacancy rate is the percent of rental units that are unoccupied/available for rent. The rental vacancy rate is a factor in determining supply and demand in the rental market and is a component of the index of leading economic indicators.
A high rental vacancy rate coupled with a low share of homes that are renter occupied generally implies more housing choices available for renting households. The share of burdened households can be lower in such markets. Conversely, a low rental vacancy rate in a market with a high percentage of renter households can signify a tighter rental market, fewer housing choices, and more affordability problems, particularly for low-income households. In these markets, the shares of burdened renters are often higher.
Rental Housing Market Measures and Metro Characteristics
Housing Costs … in 2012, median gross rent in the metro areas (metropolitan statistical areas) in the United States ranged from $522 in the Wheeling WV-OH Metro Area and the Wheeling, WV-OH Metro Area to $1,560 in the San Jose-Sunnyvale- Santa Clara, CA Metro Area compared with the national median of $884. Among the 366 metro areas, 280 (76.5 percent) had a median gross rent below the national median, 86 (23.5 percent) had a median gross rent above the national median. A comparison of all metro areas to the national median masks the tighter rental conditions faced by renters living in higher density metro areas.
Renter Burden … nationwide, nearly 2 in 5 renter households (43.1 percent) were burdened by housing costs consuming 35 percent or more of their incomes. Housing cost burdens ranged from a low of 25.7 percent of renting households in the Jefferson City, MO Metro Area to a high of 57.9 percent of renting households in the Corvallis, OR Metro Area. Many of the metros (metropolitan statistical areas) with the higher cost burden is due to a relatively large student population. Renters living in 166 of the 366 metro areas (45.4 percent) were above the national rate.
Rental Vacancy Rate … nationwide, the rental vacancy rate was 6.8 percent. The rates in the nation’s metro areas (metropolitan statistical areas) ranged from 0.3 percent in the Odessa, TX Metro Area to 38.1 percent in the Myrtle Beach-North Myrtle Beach- Conway, SC Metro Area. Excess rental inventory was almost equally likely to plague metro areas than the national rental housing market as a whole, with 180 (49.2 percent) of all metro areas having a rental vacancy rate below the national rental vacancy rate and 186 (50.8 percent) having vacancy rates at or above the national rate.
Rental Market Conditions by State & Metro Interactive Table
Use the interactive table to view, rank, query, compare rental market conditions by state and metro.
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