The Fastest Growing Rental Housing Markets for Seniors

Aging baby boomers are increasingly choosing to rent rather than own their homes. This could be good news for the senior living industry, which offers the type of rental housing that older adults appear to be embracing, rich in amenities and opportunities to socialize.

Between 2009 and 2015, the number of renters over the age of 55 increased 28%, according to a recent analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by RentCafe, a rental listing website.

That’s the largest increase of any age group; in that same time period, the number of renters younger than 34 increased only 3%.


Futhermore, there was a 23% increase in the number of renters with a bachelor’s degree and a 21% increase in the number of renters with no children. This all points to empty-nest baby boomers choosing to rent rather than own, RentCafe noted.

Out of 20 metro areas analyzed by RentCafe, these had the fastest growing senior renter populations between 2009 and 2015:

1. Riverside, California (63% increase)


2. Tampa, Florida (61%)

3. Phoenix, Arizona (59%)

4. Dallas, Texas (46%)

5. Seattle, Washington (45%)

Senior living owners and operators have been eyeing the urban opportunity, building in underserved markets like Manhattan. And Los Angeles and New York City did gain the most 55-plus renters in absolute numbers between 2009 and 2015, at 134,000 households and 124,000 households respectively. 

But older adults are not fleeing the suburbs. The population of older renters increased 39% in the suburbs and 21% in cities in the period studied.

“From my experience renting in the suburbs is preferred because – one: renting in the suburbs is less expensive than renting in the city, and two: the suburban lifestyle has changed so much in the past ten, fifteen years for a lot of suburbs, it has become vibrant and full of life with close-by shopping, restaurants, entertainment, fine parks, and transportation,” Simona Solomie, a real estate broker with Remax Masters of Morton Grove, Illinois, told RentCafe.

An example of the type of suburban development is Elmhurst 225 in the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst. This is a rental community within walking distance of grocery stores, recreational activities, restaurants, shopping and the commuter train into Chicago. 

Written by Tim Mullaney

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