Grubb Properties’ State of the Young American Renter Survey gauges Gen Z and Millennial responses to the current rental market
CHARLOTTE, NC (November 1, 2022) – Young American renters are already making trade-offs to address inflation and rent hikes and are considering further changes, according to a new survey from Grubb Properties, a leading vertically integrated commercial real estate firm focused on multifamily rental housing.
Grubb’s State of the Young American Renter Survey polled 1,000 American renters aged 22-35 to gauge their response to the challenging economic environment.
“Young American renters are contending with an extremely supply-strapped housing market, which has made it significantly more difficult to find accessible apartments in desirable locations,” said Todd Williams, Grubb’s Chief Investment Officer. “Grubb Properties’ emphasis on essential housing, geared to people earning 60% to 140% of AMI, had us wondering how Gen Z and Millennial renters are adjusting to this current economic reality. Our research shows that they are taking action and making trade-offs as necessary.”
More than half (51%) of young renters reported they experienced a rent increase in the past year, with an average increase of 30%. Of these renters, less than one in ten (7%) said they had the resources to cover the increase without changing their lifestyle.
The remaining 93% plan to or have already taken action, most notably cutting back on extra purchases (54%), looking for a new job or side gig (39%), and looking for a new place to rent or live (35%). Almost one in four (22%) said they’d consider using their credit cards to cover the rent. Roughly one in five (17%) would consider asking a friend or family for help with rent, while 12% would consider adding a roommate to help defray costs, and 7% would consider selling their car.
If rents increased to the point that young renters needed to move, they would consider more aggressive steps. Two in five (40%) say they would move to a smaller, less expensive apartment, while more than a third (36%) would pack up and move to a cheaper geographic area. One in five (19%) would consider moving back home with their family members.
Green, Urban Living - and Pets - Still Hold Appeal
Young renters aren’t willing to compromise on their environmental priorities. More than four out of five (82%) agreed that energy-efficient and environmentally friendly buildings are at least somewhat influential in their decision on where to rent, with 40% stating that they’re extremely or very influential.
Similarly, 64% at least somewhat agree that proximity to public transportation is important in the rental decision process. Three out of four (75%) at least somewhat agree that living in an environment near shops, restaurants, and entertainment is important. This makes it even more critical for more housing at price points attainable to these young renters to be built in urban and connected neighborhoods.
Another compromise young renters are not willing to make is giving up their pets. Of the 74% of respondents who own a pet, most (58%) agreed that no matter how much rent increases, they would never consider a pet-free building.
Inflation Tops the List of Financial Concerns – and Drives Young Renters to the Polls
Inflation continues to be top of mind for young renters. When asked to rank their financial concerns, the rising prices of goods were cited by 30% of respondents as their number-one financial worry, followed by rent increases (25%), lack of savings (20%), job security (15%), and paying back student loans (10%).
These financial concerns are also influencing renters’ decision to vote this November. Of the 68% who state that they plan to vote in the mid-terms, 86% state that their financial situation is at least somewhat influential in their voting decision, with almost half (49%) stating it plays a large role in their decision to vote.
Young renters report that higher rents also make finding a new apartment more difficult. When asked how easy or hard it would be to find an apartment in their price range, 64% said it would be at least somewhat hard.
“Grubb Properties is laser-focused on addressing this housing shortage,” said Williams. “We’re building new communities in some of the most supply-constrained areas, including Los Angeles, New York, the Bay Area, and Washington, DC. We believe that quality urban housing should be accessible to all.”
The Grubb Properties State of the Young American Renter Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research (www.wakefieldresearch.com) among 1,000 young apartment renters (defined as renters ages 22-35), between September 16th and September 29th, 2022, using an email invitation and an online survey. The data was weighted to ensure an accurate representation of young apartment renters ages 22-35. 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.
About Grubb Properties
Grubb Properties, founded in 1963, is a vertically integrated real estate fund manager focused on the Essential Housing space through its Link ApartmentsSM brand. The company targets residents earning between 60% and 140% of local area median income (AMI), 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 www.grubbproperties.com.
Grubb Properties’ CEO Clay Grubb is the author of the book “Creating the Urban Dream: Tackling the Affordable Housing Crisis with Compassion.”