Here’s The “2020 State Of The American Renter Report” From

Real Estate

Here’s The “2020 State of the American Renter Report” from, the largest privately held rental marketplace in the United States. This year’s report included Zumper’s 2020 Annual Renter Survey Results and 2020 US Rental Market Analysis.

It’s no surprise that the country’s rental market has taken major hits from price declines to occupancy rates. Owners from New York to San Francisco are offering concessions to lure renters to their properties.

Here are some key takeaways from the report.

  • Renters are moving back in with mom and dad.

Nearly 50% more renters are moving back in with their parents, with millennials moving back home the most often, up 75% from this time last year. 7% more renters now live with their significant other in 2020, compared to 2019.

  • The American Dream as it relates to owning a home is dead.

1 in 3 renters believes that the American Dream does not involve homeownership, in fact, 26% never plan to buy a home and more than 50% believe now is a bad time to purchase a home.


  • The majority of renters are under intense financial stress.

The renter unemployment rate was 12.7%, which is 14% higher than the national unemployment rate. Additionally, more than half of renters believe the U.S. economy is not in a good state.  

  • Renters have massively tightened their wallets.

32% more renters are saving more than 15% of their income this year, while those who are saving less than 15% decreased by 13% compared to a year ago.

  • Renters are moving more than ever before.

25% of renters reported relocating cities in the past year, up 33% from 2019. 

  • The price gap between expensive and cheaper markets is dwindling.

The gap in median price between the 8 most expensive cities and other large cities has decreased 33% from a year ago.

  • Expensive cities are experiencing historic exoduses.

There has been a 30% increase from a year ago in users on Zumper’s platform interested in moving out of the 8 most expensive cities. Renters are abandoning these cities in favor of cheaper, often neighboring markets. For example, Bay Area residents are moving to Sacramento, New Yorkers are heading to Newark, and D.C. renters are opting for Baltimore.

  • The country’s priciest cities see the sharpest rent declines.

The country’s 8 most expensive cities saw the sharpest decreases in rent price compared to the rest of the country — San Francisco, New York, Boston, Oakland, San Jose, Washington DC, Los Angeles, and Seattle. The median price in these 8 cities has decreased 15% from the start of the year.

Zumper’s methodology includes surveying more than 14,000 respondents aged 18 plus from all 50 states as well as Washington, D.C. “We’ve been publishing this report for five years. This year we are seeing how COVID has made the market pivot. COVID reversed the multi-decade trend of urbanization in just months,” notes Zumper’s President and Chief Operating Officer Vishal Makhijani. “As we are looking at 2021, I think we are starting to see a floor as to pricing. That’s good news for property owners.”

Makhijani offers some good advice for renters especially those in higher-priced cities. “Call your landlord and ask for a concession before you get stressed out that you can’t pay the rent. Many owners are also distressed about vacancies. If you are a good tenant, they want to keep you in that apartment instead of trying to find a new renter. This is especially true in this market,” Makhijani explains. “I’m more open to offering concessions than I’ve ever been,” said Beverly Shore a property owner in Brookline, Massachusetts. 

Makhijani make sense as we move to the Holidays and winter, traditionally a slow rental market.

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