CHICAGO – Feb. 6, 2013 – The average monthly apartment rental cost in the U.S. was $1,048 in fourth quarter 2012, up 3.8 percent from a year earlier, according to Reis. At the same time, the nation’s apartment vacancy rate continued a steady decline to 4.5 percent in the fourth quarter – its lowest level in more than a decade.
In response, Apartments.com conducted a nationwide survey of more than 1,300 renters to gain insights into their moving plans this year. In looking at the survey results, Apartments.com says a growing number of former homeowners are choosing to rent, while others make a move based on employment relocation, cost savings and apartment size.
“There is a growing trend toward previous homeowners choosing to rent after carefully considering economic factors such as affordability, employment opportunities and unaffordable homeownership expenses,” said Dick Burke, senior vice president and general manager, Apartments.com. “The fiscal cliff our country was headed toward in December seems to have motivated all renters to take a realistic approach toward budgeting for 2013.”
Top 5 reasons renters choose to rent
• Renting is a more affordable option: 22.2% (down from 26.3% in 2012)
• Flexibility: 15.7% (down from 21.2% in 2012)
• Can’t afford to keep up with homeownership expenses: 14.2% (up from 10.5% in 2012)
• Relocate for employment: 13.3% (down from 20.5% in 2012)
• Lost home due to foreclosure or divorce: 11.2% (up from 5.9% in 2012)
Reasons renters plan to move in 2013
• Relocating for employment opportunities: 15%
• Shopping for a less expensive apartment: 13.2%
• Looking for a bigger apartment: 11.2%
• Change in marital status: 10.8%
• Wanting to live in a different neighborhood: 9.8%
• Relocating for educational reasons: 6.7%
• Other family reasons: 5.2%
• Recent college grad moving to their own place: 4.6%
• Looking for a smaller apartment: 3.3%
• Wanting to live alone: 2.5%
Resources used in an apartment search
All renters surveyed had used Apartments.com, but they also reported using other online apartment listing websites (such as Craigslist), search engines and review websites.
The opinions of others seem to play a more important role in searches than in previous years. More than half of respondents said they use review websites during their apartment search, versus 32.6 percent in 2012; 45.1 percent relied on word of mouth versus 31.5 percent in 2012.
Apartment share arrangements nearly identical to 2012
• Husband/wife/significant other and/or kids: 49.6%
• Living alone: 40.3%
• Roommate(s): 10.1%
© 2013 Florida Realtors®