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Why Growth in the Rental Market May Just Be Beginning

The rental market has been growing steadily for years. But, recent events have caused a dramatic shift in the way people think about renting property, and this shift is only just beginning. Let's take a look at why the rental market is primed to explode in the coming years and what this means for investors. Additionally, rising mortgage interest rates mean that mortgages can be more expensive than renting for many people as well. All of these factors contribute to an increased demand for rentals rather than purchases which drives up prices and encourages the development of new rental units. 

Rising Home Prices + The Sharing Economy 

The first factor driving the growth of the rental market is rising home prices. As home prices continue to rise, more and more people are finding that buying a home isn't an option right now. For many millennials, rising student loan debt and stagnating wages mean that saving up enough money for a down payment is out of reach. For others, it's simply not feasible to buy in their desired neighborhood or city due to high home prices. 


What is the Sharing Economy? 

The sharing economy is a market model based on peer-to-peer exchanges of goods and services. This includes everything from ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft to home rental platforms like Airbnb. While these types of services existed before the advent of the internet, they have become much more popular in recent years due to the ease with which people can access them through mobile apps and websites. 
The sharing economy has also had an impact on the rental market. People are increasingly opting for convenience over ownership when it comes to their daily lives.

There are now countless apps and services that make it easier than ever to find an apartment or house to rent on short-term leases, meaning that more people than ever before can take advantage of flexible living arrangements without having to commit to a long-term lease. This trend has only been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic as many people now prefer shorter leases so they can move more easily if their circumstances change unexpectedly. 

The increase in short-term leases is one of the clearest indicators of the impact that the sharing economy has had on the rental market. Services such as Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway allow people to quickly and easily find rental properties that fit their needs on a short-term basis. These services are especially advantageous for those who are looking for flexibility; rather than signing a year-long lease, renters can stay in one place for just a few days or weeks at a time. This is especially beneficial for those who are looking for temporary housing while traveling or relocating. 

A Growing Population & Low Homeownership Rates 

Population growth is also driving demand for rental properties as more people need places to live in cities around the world. In some areas of the US, population growth has seen an increase of over 10% since 2010 - creating a huge influx of potential tenants looking for housing options at all levels of affordability. As demand continues to grow with no end in sight, investors will be presented with unprecedented opportunities for growth in the coming years.  

One of the primary factors driving growth in the rental market is the fact that homeownership rates in the U.S. have decreased over the past several years. According to data from Zillow, homeownership rates have fallen from 64% in 2004 to 60% in 2022, with many experts predicting further decreases in coming years. This decrease in homeownership means that more people are opting to rent instead, creating an increased demand for rentals and driving up prices in many markets. 

Affordability & Demographic Changes

Another factor contributing to growth in the rental market is affordability. In some markets, particularly expensive ones such as San Francisco or New York City, rents are high enough that buying a home doesn’t necessarily make sense financially—it may be cheaper to rent than to buy a home in these areas. 

For example, if you’re looking to buy a house in San Francisco, you may need to pay upwards of $1 million dollars just to get started. On top of that, you’ll also have additional costs such as property taxes and maintenance fees which can add up quickly. In comparison, renting a house or apartment in San Francisco might only cost around $3,000 per month - significantly less than what you would have to pay for mortgage payments over the course of a year. 

Who Does this Impact? Implications For Investors 

It goes without saying that this trend has been especially beneficial for those living in expensive cities who want or need to stay within their budget but don’t want to sacrifice comfort or quality of life. Young professionals and millennials without enough saved up for a down payment often choose to rent over ownership due to its lower initial cost requirements compared with buying a home or condo. Additionally, retirees who want less responsibility and maintenance obligations tend to prefer renting as well. 

This trend towards rental affordability has implications for investors too - while higher rents may not necessarily mean higher returns (since increased rent prices can affect demand), they do create an opportunity for investors to take advantage of rising rent prices by investing in rental properties in areas where people are more likely looking for rentals due to high housing costs relative to salaries. By doing so, investors have an opportunity to capitalize on these trends and generate higher returns on their investments over time than they would if they had invested in other markets with lower rent prices but lower potential returns too. 

By taking advantage of short-term rental opportunities through services like Airbnb or VRBO, investors can generate high returns with lower risks compared with traditional long-term investment strategies. Furthermore, using these services allows investors to quickly adjust their portfolios based on demand; if demand in one area drops off suddenly due to changes in the local market or other factors, investors can easily shift their investments elsewhere without having to worry about long-term commitments.  

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Finally, demographic changes have had an effect on rental growth as well. As Millennials (the largest generation ever) reach adulthood and begin entering their peak earning years, they are increasingly looking for affordable housing options—especially since they carry large amounts of student loan debt and often face competition from more established generations when it comes to job opportunities and wages. This creates an increased demand for rentals which leads to higher prices and better opportunities for investment in rental properties. 
In conclusion, it's clear that there's never been a better time than now for investors to get involved with rental property markets around the world - especially in cities where population growth is booming and flexible rental options are becoming increasingly popular among renters. With rising home prices making ownership out of reach for many people, there’s no doubt that demand will continue to grow – potentially opening up new opportunities for savvy investors who know how to capitalize on it quickly and effectively!

Clinton Dugan

SR. Organic Growth Manager

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