Trulia has just released the numbers on rising rental prices, and it’s good news for landlords. Nationally, rents rose 6% since this time last year, while Seattle’s 9.6% rise puts it sixth in the nation for rent increases. San Francisco made number one, at 14.4%; in between were Oakland, Miami, Denver, and Boston.
Of the top ten cities, rents actually rose the least in New York, at just over 5%. The secret behind these rising rents? According to Trulia’s chief economist, Jed Kolko, “The economy has strengthened enough to increase rental demand, but has yet to recover strongly enough for renters to become homeowners.”
As the renting culture continues to take root, perceptions of what it is to rent one’s home are changing. While ten years ago, most people might have rented apartments in multifamily housing as they saved to purchase a single-family home, these days, owner-occupied housing is making way for a different model. Homeowners who crave the increased flexibility of renting are leasing out the homes they own, instead of selling, when they decide to move; others are investing in rental properties with no intention of living in them.
Rolf Pendal, a housing expert with the Urban Housing Thinktank, is focused on what that will mean for government officials and others as our priorities shift. “What communities need to do to ensure they are prepared is first to make sure that there are sites where new multifamily housing can be built,” he says. “And the multifamily housing that gets built needs to go in communities with high opportunity, not just communities where the schools don’t perform well and where it’s not safe to live.”