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3M U.S. Renter Households Make Over $150K a Year

Census Bureau: Over a five year period (2016-2021), the number of these renters who can afford to buy rose 87%. Reasons vary, but most understand the value of ownership.

NEW YORK – High-earning Americans are more likely to rent their place of residence than they did in the past.

The number of renter households making $150,000 or more a year rose by 87% between 2016 and 2021 to more than 3 million, according to five-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. Overall, about 44 million households rented, and the median income for all households was nearly $71,000 in 2021, according to the Census.

Why not buy? Some affluent renters can’t find a house that meets all their expectations, or they want to rent in a new city before making a decision on what to buy. Others want to remain mobile and prefer the flexibility of renting over the commitment of homeownership.

Meanwhile, large investment companies have been buying up suburban homes by the thousands and renting them out to above-average earners. Major apartment developers focus on amenity-packed buildings catering to professionals making high wages. And home builders are constructing more single-family houses designed to be rented instead of sold.

Some high-earners who recently moved say they will not rent indefinitely. Lee Robbins, a 36-year-old accountant, left Indiana for Sanford, Fla., five years ago and makes six-figures – but he’s still a renter. Robbins said he needs a few more years to save for a down payment, citing his student debt. When he is ready to buy, he is preparing to pay what he expects will still be an elevated price.

“I don’t want to bleed my money away to a landlord forever,” Robbins says.

Source: Wall Street Journal (03/13/23) Parker, Will

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