The Rental Housing Stock

The Rental Housing Stock

by Robert Dietz

Given the increasing focus with respect to growing demand for rental properties, we thought we would present the breakdown of the rental housing stock by structure type. Using the 2009 American Housing Survey, the data show that 30% of all housing units in the United States are renter-occupied or vacant for-rent.

A surprisingly large share of this rental housing stock consists of single-family detached homes: 27%.

When adding townhouses (single-family attached units), the share of the rental housing stock due to single-family homes is roughly one-third (34% once rounded). A large share is also due to homes that have been divided into two to four apartments with some common space, representing 20% of the rental housing stock.

Subtracting out manufactured housing units, this leaves only 44% of rental housing due to traditional multifamily apartment buildings of five or more units.

Looking within the structure categories, the traditional expectations emerge. Only 14% of single-family homes are rental units. But more than 80% of housing units in 2+ unit buildings are in the rental housing stock.

These percentages are useful to keep in mind when examining discussions of rental housing: it is not entirely a multifamily building narrative. And this analysis is based on 2009 AHS data. In the intervening period, the share of rental housing stock has grown, particularly for those types of housing that have been traditionally owner-occupied.

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