The number of renters over age 60 grew by 43 percent in the last decade, according to a report from RENTCafé, a national apartment listing service. Overall, nearly 37 percent of Americans rent, a near 50-year high, according to the Pew Research Center.
Housing analysts say the trend is partially a result of the Great Recession, as some people who lost their homes never bought again. Many others are baby boomers who were never homeowners in the first place.
The share of older renters grew the most in Austin, Texas, and Phoenix, Arizona, where it more than doubled over the last 10 years. However, seniors in these markets still represent only 12 percent and 17 percent of those cities’ overall rental populations, respectively.
Cities with the highest percentages of older renters include New York, where they make up 27 percent of renter households; Baltimore, Maryland (25 percent); and Detroit (24 percent).
According to RENTCafé projections, the 60+ renter share is projected to keep growing, while other age groups decrease. The 60+ cohort is expected to grow to an estimated 18.6 million by 2035 and will become the second largest group of renter households, surpassing those aged 34 and under.
As people age, rental living becomes more attractive. Instead of seeking yards (which require maintenance), older renters look for apartment buildings with elevators and nearby amenities. Developers may want to think about accommodating older renters by updating buildings to make them more accessible.
Consider storage needs, too. Older renters who previously owned homes may look for rentals with more storage space and larger closets, compared to millennial renters who do not have decades of accumulation behind them.