Real Estate

US Renters Spent $4.5 Trillion on Housing Rents in Last Decade

US Renters Spent $4.5 Trillion on Housing Rents in Last Decade

According to new Zillow research, US renters spent a total of $4.5 trillion on housing rents in the last decade. That’s more than the GDP of Germany or the combined market values of Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and Alphabet. In 2019 alone, renters spent more than $512 billion on housing – the most of any year in this decade. Altogether, U.S. renters spent 2.9% more on rent this year than they did in 2018 and 46.5% more than in 2009 ($349.8 billion).

The current median rent is $1,600 per month, up 2.3% from a year ago. Rent prices have been on the rise since 2012, creating an affordability crunch. Nationally, rent prices grew the fastest in June 2015, when the U.S. median rent rose 6.5% annually.

However, the rental market has stabilized toward the end of the decade – annual rent growth slowed to less than 1% in late 2017 before ticking back up. By the end of the year 2020, Zillow predicts rent growth will slow slightly once more, stabilizing in line with wage growth and inflation at a rate of just under 2% annually.

Zillow Group Economist Joshua Clark said, “While the total amount of rent paid has increased each year this decade, that trend is by no means immutable. With rental appreciation expected to decrease in the coming year and a homeownership rate that has been ticking up over the past few years, a small or even negative change in total rental spending could be in the cards in the early 2020s.”

Renters in the New York metro area spent the most on rent in 2019 and throughout the decade, followed by renters in the Los Angeles and San Francisco metro areas. However, comparatively more affordable metro areas in Southern states have seen some of the most significant rent price growth throughout the past decade. In Austin and Raleigh, the total amount of money spent on rent in a year has nearly doubled since 2009.