Top Markets for Renters Under 30
- A little more than 26% of renter heads of household are 30 years of age or younger.
- Following a surge in pandemic-era migration, Savannah boasts the highest share of renters under age 30 in the country, accounting for nearly half of its renter base.
- Chattanooga and Madison follow closely behind, benefiting from local geographic advantages.
Renters 30 years of age and under, who now make up slightly more than one-quarter of the heads of households of rental units, are bolstering housing demand in markets known for their affordability and livability.
Savannah, GA, tops the list of metros with the highest share of young renters, coming in at an impressive 48.9% (Chart 1). Meanwhile, on the lower end of the spectrum are expensive markets, including Miami (23.7%), New York (20.8%), and San Bernardino (15.1%).
As recently as 2019, the 30 or younger share of Savannah households was just 40.0%. Then, as the pandemic accelerated domestic migration, Savannah was among the areas that saw an outsized share of attention, with its resident population jumping by 2.7%. In the past three years, Savannah’s share of 30 and under renters has surged 9.9 percentage points.
Chattanooga, TN, and Madison, WI, have also gained more young residents, with a respective 47.5% and 45.3% of their heads of renter households being age 30 or younger.
Chattanooga sits in a locational sweet spot that is under 150 miles from Atlanta, Nashville, Birmingham, Knoxville, and Huntsville — a factor that has made the metro a hotspot for manufacturing. In recent years, built-to-rent single-family housing communities, favored by young families, have been built in Chattanooga.
Meanwhile, Madison benefits from its status as both a state capital and a quintessential “college town.” The University of Wisconsin draws a lot of young renters to the area, while the attractive mix of walkable downtown amenities and a strong labor market provides a strong pull for them to stay. As recently as 2021, Madison was ranked the most livable city in the country.
From the Midwest to the Southeast, the markets most successful at attracting and retaining renters under 30 blend elements of livability and affordability that generate short and long-term tenant demand.
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