Renters pay too much for too little, new studies show

Aly J. Yale
The Mortgage Reports contributor

Losing the rent race

Things aren’t looking good for renters. According to new data, most can’t afford to live where they want, and the places they can afford? They don’t offer the amenities renters are looking for.

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Regretting renting

According to a new survey from RENTCafe, a mere 17 percent of renters are able to live in their ideal location. For the 83 percent who can’t, rent prices are the No. 1. cause.

Unfortunately, location upgrades just aren’t an option for most. According to RENTCafe, “a location upgrade costs over four times as much as what most renters are willing to pay for.” Upgrades cost even more in Chicago, St. Louis and Philadelphia.

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But it’s not just upgrades that are out of reach for many renters. Rent prices have been climbing steadily for some time, with the national average rent hitting $1,381 last month – up 2 percent from a year prior. If they rise much more, it might mean renters need to move even further from their jobs and ideal locations.

Over 16 percent of the 2,000 renters surveyed said they can’t pay any more than they’re paying now. Another 43 percent said they could pay only $100 more or less.

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Paying too much for too little

To make matters worse, another study has shown that not only are renters paying more to live in places less-than-ideal, but those rentals aren’t living up to expectations either.

According to analysis from ApartmentList, only 13 percent of rental properties off in-unit laundry – the most desirable amenity among all renters. There’s also a lack of air conditioning (only 39 percent of properties offer it) and parking (only 45 percent).

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“It’s also worth noting that even when parking is available, it often costs renters an additional fee,” ApartmentList’s Chris Salviati reported. “In some dense cities, such as New York and San Francisco, getting a parking spot could add hundreds of dollars to a renter’s monthly expenses.”

The study also showed that the amenities rental properties do offer aren’t desirable to most renters. Cat-friendliness – the most available amenity among rentals – is only popular with 12 percent of renters.

Get today’s mortgage rates

Looking to get out of the rent race? Then shop around and see what mortgage rates you qualify for today.

Verify your new rate (Feb 19th, 2019)