1.5 Million More Apartment Renters, Most in Small Properties

Over 1.1 million new renters moved into small multifamily buildings in 2015, according to new Census data.

The latest numbers from the American Community Survey confirm the importance of Millennials for rental demand.

Even so, Baby Boomers have emerged as the fastest growing renter group in the small apartment market and are an increasingly important target market for property owners.

Age Composition of Renters

The resident population in small apartment buildings, consisting primarily of Millennial renters and young families with children. skews younger compared to large buildings.

The average age of small building renters in 2014 at 32 years was nearly ten years lower compared to renters in large properties, and remained unchanged for year-end 2015.

As shown above, renters under 30 years accounted for nearly half of the small building population in 2015, compared to only 38 percent in large buildings.

On the other hand, Baby Boomers and Seniors, age 60 years or over, accounted for a 27 percent share in large buildings, higher compared to small properties.

Renter Growth by Age Segments

Between 2014 and 2015, the total renter population in the United States grew by 1.5 million individuals, of which 1.1 million renters lived in small properties. More than 420,000 new renters between the ages of 20 and 39 called a small apartment community home in 2015, compared to 2014.

As shown below, the Millennial-dominated 20 to 39-year-old segment accounted for the largest share of renter growth in small buildings at 38 percent, and significantly, even higher at 49 percent in large buildings.

Baby Boomers and Seniors (60 years and over) comprised a larger share of renter growth in large buildings at 29 percent compared to only 20 percent in small properties.

While Millennials win out by their sheer numbers, Baby Boomers were the fastest growing renter segment in small properties at an annual rate of 7.3 percent between 2014 and 2015, compared to only 3.3 percent for the Millennial cohort.