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Community, Cost, and Climate: Taking the Pulse of the Young American Renter

Grubb Properties’ 2023 State of the Young American Renter Survey uncovers Gen Z and millennial attitudes and perspectives

CHARLOTTE, NC (October 18, 2023) – While the nation grapples with an epidemic of loneliness, young American renters appreciate the importance of community and the role their living situation plays in their well-being, according to a new survey from Grubb Properties, a leading vertically integrated real estate firm focused on multifamily rental housing.

According to Grubb’s second annual State of the Young American Renter Survey, which polled 1,000 American renters aged 22–35 in apartment communities, an impressive 72% of young renters value the importance of connections to their neighbors, while more than half (56%) said their current rental situation has a positive impact on their personal well-being.

And most are happy with their current rental situation. Three out of four (77%) stated they were at least somewhat satisfied with their current apartment, with almost half (46%) stating they were completely or very satisfied.

“At our Link Apartments, our intent has always been to provide accessible housing and to foster vibrant communities,” said Todd Williams, Grubb’s Chief Investment Officer. “By providing communal spaces, shared amenities, and group activities, as well as selecting desirable and connected locations, we strive to create an environment that fosters interaction with neighbors and promotes the overall well-being of our residents. The results of this survey validate the importance of our approach.”

Rising Rents, Rising Concerns

While connection remains crucial, financial worries cast a long shadow:

  • More than three-quarters (78%) of young renters reported a rent hike in the past year, whereas 22% said their rent stayed the same or declined.
  • Of those who experienced an increase, nine out of ten (90%) either plan to or have already taken action to address the higher rents.
  • Almost half (44%) stated they would be cutting back on extra purchases, while more than a third (37%) stated that they would look for a new job or take on a second job.
  • One in ten (10%) said they could handle the higher rent without making any changes.
  • When asked to rank five economic concerns, rental increases topped the list, with 33% choosing it as their largest financial worry. Perhaps surprisingly given the resumption of federal loan payments, student loan repayment was cited only by 10% as their primary concern.

Despite these concerns, young renters are optimistic about their financial prospects. Two-thirds (65%) state that their financial situation will be at least somewhat better a year from now, and four out of five (82%) intend to buy a home in the future.

Planning for the Future — New Locations and a Greener Tomorrow

More than half of young renters (52%) say they will likely move to a new state within the next five years. When asked why, almost a third (31%) cited lower cost of living, followed by job opportunities (18%) and a more appealing climate (12%).

Climate also plays a role in young renters’ apartment decisions. Four out of five (81%) young renters stated environmental factors influence their rental decisions.

This attention to the environment extends to the future. When asked which features they most want to see in an apartment 10 years from now, sustainable technology —such as solar power and advanced recycling systems — took the top spot, with almost half (48%) including sustainability on their wish list.

“Along with our primary mission of mitigating the nation’s housing crisis, Grubb Properties is also focused on creating resiliency throughout our multifamily portfolio,” said Williams. “We’re building new communities in some of the most supply-constrained areas of the country, including Los Angeles, New York, the Bay Area, and Washington, DC. To ensure environmental resiliency, we utilize environmental screening to identify and avoid climate-related risks, and we prioritize sustainability, targeting at least a National Green Building Standard Silver certification for all new projects.”

Survey Background

The Grubb Properties State of the Young American Renter Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research ( among 1,000 young apartment renters (defined as renters ages 22-35) living in apartment buildings with 10 or more units in the top 100 DMA markets, between September 1st and September 19th, 2023, using an email invitation and an online survey.

Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. For the interviews conducted in this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.

Due to rounding, numbers presented throughout this document may not add up precisely to totals provided and percentages may not precisely reflect the absolute figures.

About Grubb Properties

Grubb Properties, founded in 1963, is a vertically integrated real estate company focused on the Essential Housing space through its Link ApartmentsSM brand. The company targets residents in the middle of the income spectrum, directly addressing a growing crisis for essential housing, while providing residents with exceptional living spaces. Grubb Properties maintains a long-term perspective and its careful and measured approach to real estate investment has delivered resilient and impressive returns. Grubb Properties has received numerous sustainability designations and recognitions, and undergoes annual ESG assessments through GRESB. For more information, visit

Grubb Properties’ CEO Clay Grubb is the author of the book “Creating the Urban Dream: Tackling the Affordable Housing Crisis with Compassion.”

Media Contact: Emily Ethridge, Corporate Communications Director,, (704) 405-5148


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