With the US homeownership rate at its lowest since 1967, the US renter population is the largest it has ever been, and now stands at 43 million households. With rents increasing much faster than incomes, however, renters in cities across the US increasingly struggle with housing affordability.

  • San Francisco rents have increased significantly from 2007-2014 by 33 percent increase
  • Median renter incomes have mostly kept pace increasing by 27 percent during that same period
  • the national average is 52 percent and the state 57 percent

With the US homeownership rate at its lowest since 1967, the US renter population is the largest it has ever been, and now stands at 43 million households. With rents increasing much faster than incomes, however, renters in cities across the US increasingly struggle with housing affordability. Apartment List recently analyzed Census data from 2007-2014 to understand which cities and states have the most cost-burdened renters (spending more than 30 percent of their income in rent).

Cost-burdened renters in San Francisco, 2007-2014

As seen from the chart above, the share of cost-burdened renters in San Francisco was 43 percent in 2007. It rose to a high of 48 percent in 2012, before falling to 43 percent in 2014. This is lower than both the national (52 percent) and state (57 percent) average.

Median rents and renter incomes in San Francisco, 2007-2014

Diving deeper into the data, we see that San Francisco rents have increased significantly from 2007-2014: The 33 percent increase is one of the largest in our study. Median renter incomes have mostly kept pace, however, increasing by 27 percent during that same period. We see similar trends in other cities that are popular with millennials, both rents and renter incomes have risen rapidly in Austin, Denver, and Seattle, for example.


To read more about which cities and states have the highest cost-burden rates, check our Apartment List’s full report at this link.

Andrew has lived in 13 different apartments in the past six years. He currently is a Manager of Growth Strategy at Apartment List, leading research on rental market trends and renter satisfaction. His interests include cycling, cooking and tennis. 

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