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Economy

The Rise of the Rich Renter

“The rise in higher-income renter households may mask the significant housing affordability challenges faced by lower-income renter households.”
A man stands in front of a construction project in San Francisco, one of the hottest rental markets in the country.
A man stands in front of a construction project in San Francisco, one of the hottest rental markets in the country.Robert Galbraith/Reuters

The Great Recession has been reshaping America into a renter nation. And increasingly, highly paid, highly educated households are making room for themselves in it.

That’s according to a new report by the NYU Furman Center, which examines rental housing trends between 2006 and 2015 in metros with more than a million residents. Here’s the upshot: rich households—those earning more than 120 percent of the metro median income—saw their renter share rise by 1.2 percent between 2012 and 2015. Since 2006, that growth was a striking 6.2 percent. The renter share among households making less than 50 percent of the median income, on the other hand, remained roughly the same since 2012. Since 2006, it grew by a modest 2.9 percent. More educated subsets of metro residents also gained renters in this period.