Vehicle Ownership Higher Among Small Building Renters
While a larger share of small building households own vehicles, growth in ownership was slower compared to large buildings for the post-crisis period.
Car Ownership Shares in Apartment Buildings
Larger shares of car ownership among small building renters should come as little surprise given the more dispersed location of small properties across both urban and suburban locations — especially compared to the predominantly downtown oriented large buildings.
Data obtained from the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS) shows that only a 22% share of small apartment building households did not own a vehicle. In larger buildings, this figure rose to nearly 40%. Nationally, this share stood at only 9%, which makes sense given that approximately 63% of householders own rather than rent.
Among small building households, 53% owned just one car, while another 25% owned two or more cars.
In comparison, a 45% share of large building households owned a single car, and only about 16% of large building households had two or more cars.
Ownership Growth Slower in Small Buildings
While a greater share of households living in small buildings owned cars, vehicle ownership grew faster among large building households between 2010 and 2015.
As shown below, households owning one car in small buildings grew at an average annual rate of 1.6% in the post-crisis period, compared to 2.6% in large buildings.
While households owning two or more cars in small buildings grew at an annual rate of 3.6%, this group grew at a higher rate of 4.2% in large buildings.
In a reversal of the long-term decline trend, households without vehicles registered a small growth across both small and large apartment buildings. Some observers attribute this slow growth to the rejection of the car culture by Millennials.
Technological disruptions in the auto-industry, such as the introduction of self-driving cars and car shares, could further dampen ownership rates. For property managers, this technology could lead to a shift to electric and hybrid vehicles, which could require new vehicle amenities in apartment complexes such as charging stations.