Rental Statistics tell Story of Who Rents in Utah
By Taylor Smith Education & Membership Coordinator
Utah Apartment Association
According to information from the US Census 2015 update and from a new report released by the Utah Apartment Association in partnership with KSL.com and Rentler, there are some surprising insights into who in Utah rents, and what type of rental unit they live in.
According to the Census, one out of every three households in Utah rent their housing. That’s approximately 1,000,000 tenants in Utah that rent over 300,000 rental units. Some of those people are low income or young people, as is the common perception, but the data reveals several surprises.
19% of Utah rental households contain Senior Citizens
It is a longstanding perception that renters are mostly younger families or individuals. However an increasing number of seniors in Utah are choosing to rent. Some are heading to “Senior Communities” that have amenities specifically geared towards their lifestyle, while others prefer to rent homes or apartments in a mixed area. Many are choosing to rent to avoid the hassles, costs and responsibilities of home ownership in their golden years.
15% of Utah renters live in households of 5 or more…
It shouldn’t surprise anybody that in Utah we have big families, and we lead the nation not only in the average household size for homeowners, but also with the largest household size for renters as well. Still, the fact that roughly one out of every seven tenants in Utah lives in a household that has 5 or more people means that there is a significant market for homes and apartments with a minimum of three bedrooms, and in some cases more than that.
25% of Utah renters live alone
While large families are more likely to own than rent a home, single individuals, no matter what stage of life they are in, are much more likely to rent than own their dwelling. This means that there is and will continue to be a strong rental market for smaller rentals, especially in urban areas.
18% of Utah tenants belong to an ethnic minority
Minorities are 64% more likely to be a renter than their Caucasian friends. Individuals who identify as minorities are more likely to be new residents in the state, to live in urban rather than rural areas, and to list home ownership as a less important financial goal. Because of this it is always important that landlords continue to ensure that their Fair Housing practices live up to the high industry standards that have been set in Utah.
Where do tenants live?
You can’t drive around Utah without seeing the massive construction of large apartment communities that have been recently built or are under construction. That has led many Utahans to believe the majority of rental households live in large apartments. But according to the data, that is not the case.
31% of rental units in Utah are Single Family homes
Rental homes in Utah are a key component of the housing market. And while apartments are able to command a premium price per square foot due to their locations and amenities (with an average of 88¢ per square foot compared to 65¢ for single family homes), the market rents for houses continues to be significantly higher than for apartments (with respective averages of $1,199* for single family homes and $785* for apartment units).
Only 37% of the rental units in Utah are in an Apartment Community
Many people are shocked by these numbers because they see so many apartments around them. But single family homes for rent can be found in every community in every part of the state – from blue collar neighborhoods to upscale new developments.
25% of rentals are in duplexes, triplexes, or fourplexes, townhomes and condos
Housing experts often refer to rental homes and other buildings with less than 5 rental units as the “shadow market” and Utah has a very healthy shadow market which comprises almost two thirds of the available inventory.
7% of rental units in Utah are basement apartments
Basement or accessory apartments make up one out of every fourteen rentals in our state, and are a key ingredient in creating affordable housing opportunities – both for the homeowners who may not be able to afford the house without the additional rental income, and for the renters who are often able to live in much nicer areas which better opportunities, school and environments than they otherwise could afford. Unfortunately, efforts to increase the supply of these units are often met with indifference by traditional affordable housing advocates and suspicion by municipal governments.
Understanding who rents and the unit types available will help investors and managers navigate the tricky Utah rental housing market. For more details about the data used to create this article, please visit:
The United State Census
Utah Apartment Association Industry Insights Report
And for even more information on renter demographics and rental property inventory, rents, etc., join us on September 13th at the annual Economic Forecast conference. You can find out more details at uaahq.org/economic-conference.
*data reflects statewide averages from the UAA Industry Insights Report