Rents continue to slam non-homeowners: Zillow

April 6, 2015
SEATTLE (4/7/15)--One-quarter of renters can't afford or can barely afford their rent, recent research from Zillow has found.

Among low-income Americans, more than 1 in 7 renters struggle to pay rent on a monthly basis, despite the fact that many choose to rent because it's purportedly the more affordable option.

"Deteriorating rental affordability is a pressing national issue, as rents rapidly rise beyond the means of many at the same time as many young adults choose to rent for longer," said Aaron Terrazas on Zillow's blog.

Digging deeper, of those households with an annual household income below $35,000, more than one-third said their rent was unaffordable, or borderline affordable.

Further, on average, renters in the Northwest and West said it was acceptable to spend more than 36% of their income on rent, while those in the Midwest and South said 30% or higher was appropriate.

Additional data:
  • Hispanics accepted the idea of putting higher shares of their income toward rent more than whites or African-Americans;
  • When asked why they choose to rent, more than half of renters (54%) cited a lack of income for homeownership, 27% said they preferred renting, and 16% said they were uncertain about their living situations; and
  • Middle-age renters (ages 35 to 54) were the most concerned with rent affordability at a rate of 60%, while young-adult renters were the next-most concerned at 50%. Seniors were the least concerned over rent affordability at a rate of 46%.