A new survey from Apartments.com suggests that tenants are feeling the crunch of rising rents.
In the company’s most recent "What Renters Want" survey, affordability was by far the most popular reason for relocation: 24.7% of respondents named it as their main reason for moving in 2015. That was more than double the response for the second-most popular reason, a change in relationship status, which garnered 9.4%.
The need to keep costs down was further solidified by responses regarding the cost of living at their new apartments—75% said they would be spending about the same or less than their current monthly rent. And most renters aren’t going far: 56.3% are staying in the same city, indicating that many renters aren’t necessarily saving by moving to less expensive markets, but instead to less expensive communities.
On the opposite side of the mobility spectrum are renters whose budget is making them stay. Among those who aren’t planning to move this year, just under 35% indicated it was because they couldn’t afford to. This was the second-most popular answer, behind the 36.9% who don’t want to move because they like their current neighborhood.
Unsurprisingly and on trend, bargains would be the biggest incentive for those who aren’t currently planning a move to change their minds: 68.4% would move for discounted rent throughout the term of their lease, 48.7% would move for free rent for a month, and 42.3% would move to get more space for the same amount of money.
Cost was also found to be a major factor for former homeowners; more than 40% of the respondents were previous homeowners, and 17.2% named affordability as their motivation for renting. That was nearly equal to the most popular reason for renting, which also has financial undertones: 17.3% cited the loss of their home to foreclosure or divorce.
Opinions among previous homeowners on whether renting or ownership is preferable were almost evenly split, but renting got a very slight, 0.7%, edge. Among those who have not owned a home, however, 33.2% expressed a desire to continue renting, as opposed to only 26.3% who wanted to own a home now.
Interestingly, despite the overall focus on budget, only 38.4% of respondents said that renting is more affordable for them than buying. But other perks seem to be keeping renters happy: respondents ranked the top benefits of renting as not having to deal with unexpected repairs (69.7%), low maintenance requirements (54.5%), and greater flexibility to move (39.3%).