CHICAGO, Jan. 27, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The average monthly rental cost in the U.S. was $1,083 in Q4 2013, up 3.2 percent for all of 2013, according to Reis Inc. At the same time, demand for apartments remained strong as the nation's apartment vacancy rate declined to 4.1 percent in the fourth quarter. In response to this news, Apartments.com conducted its annual survey of more than 1,500 renters to gain insights into their moving plans for 2014. The survey reveals both shifting trends in renter behavior, and a more lighthearted look at celebrity neighbor preferences.
Affordability, neighborhood and apartment size topped the list of reasons people said they are moving; close to half (46 percent) of former homeowners said they prefer renting; and internet listing services and word of mouth were named as the top two resources for renters during their apartment search.
"This year, both economic and lifestyle factors seem to be on the minds of most renters planning to move," said Dick Burke, president of Apartments.com. "Many helpful online tools, like Apartments.com, are available to help renters make informed and responsible decisions with highly personalized searches, online video walkthroughs, the ability to post and read reviews and apps for iPhone and Android."
Through the 2014 Moving Trends Survey, Apartments.com also learned:
- Renters who aren't planning to move in 2014 would change their minds if they:
- Win the lottery: 51.5%
- Get a job promotion (or lose their job): 45.6%
- Move in with their significant other (or get married, or get divorced): 20.7%
- Experience noisy or annoying neighbors: 19.5%
- Could find affordable options: 13%
- Only 12 percent of renters planning to stay put in 2014 would change their minds (and move out) if Miley Cyrus moved in as their neighbor. "Apparently, most renters wouldn't mind if guests at Miley's parties have their hands in the air like they don't care!" said Tammy Kotula, public relations and promotions manager, Apartments.com.
- More renters would prefer Dakota Fanning (23.4 percent) as their celebrity renter neighbor than Ashley Greene (12.9 percent). Also, Chris Noth (15.1 percent) would be preferred as a celebrity renter neighbor over Nick Jonas (8.2 percent).
Why are people moving in 2014? And, why aren't they?
This year, moving decisions were heavily steered by economic factors. Shopping for a less expensive apartment topped the list of reasons renters are planning to move, while affordability topped the list for why renters are staying put. Other popular responses rounding out the top five reasons for whether or not to move included renter preferences, personal tastes, job security and family issues.
Apartments.com details the top five reasons survey respondents said they are moving in 2014:
- Shopping for a less expensive apartment: 24.6%
- Wanting to live in a different neighborhood: 13.6%
- Looking for a bigger apartment: 12%
- Change in marital status: 11.6%
- Looking for a smaller apartment, or to live alone: 10%
When asked to check all that apply, the top five reasons that renters said they aren't moving in 2014:
- Can't afford to move elsewhere: 47.3%
- Like the neighborhood they live in: 40.8%
- Like the apartment building they live in: 40.8%
- Have job security: 22.5%
- Like their neighbors: 12.4%
Why are previous homeowners choosing to rent in 2014?
Supporting a rapidly growing trend, close to half of all renters (44.1 percent) previously owned a home, up from 35.1 percent in 2013 and 33.6 percent in 2012. Interestingly, homeownership preferences are split right down the middle in 2014:
- 54 percent of former homeowners wish they still owned a home
- 46 percent of former homeowners prefer renting
- 51.2 percent of renters (who have never owned a home) prefer renting
- 48.8 percent of renters (who have never owned a home) would like to own a home right now
When asked to check all that apply, the majority of survey respondents see the following as benefits of renting vs. owning:
- No unexpected repairs (leaky toilet, clogged sink, etc.): 59.9%
- No or low maintenance (don't need to shovel a driveway, cut grass, etc.): 51.4%
- Flexibility to move: 51.3%
There was a sizeable increase this year in previous homeowners who indicated that they are choosing to rent mainly because they cannot afford homeownership anymore, while the flexibility renting offers in choosing where to live remained as the number two reason for the third year in a row. Apartments.com provides the top five reasons former homeowners are choosing to rent in 2014, and compares these results to its 2013 survey. The statistics indicate the economy continues to be a driving factor for this group of renters:
- Can't afford homeownership anymore: 21.5% (up from 14.2% in 2013)
- Flexibility renting offers in choosing where to live: 15% (down slightly from 15.7% in 2013)
- Lost home due to foreclosure or divorce: 13% (up from 11.2% in 2013)
- To relocate for employment: 12.4% (down from 13.3% in 2013)
- Because renting is more affordable: 10.4% (down significantly from 22.2% in 2013)
Who will renters share their apartments with in 2014?
One area that seems to be a constant is renter living arrangements, which have remained nearly identical for the past three years:
- Husband/wife/significant other and/or kids: 47.6%
- Living alone: 42.6%
- Roommate(s): 9.8%
Apartments.com (http://www.apartments.com) is a leading national apartment Internet listing subscription service with more than 50,000 unique addresses representing millions of rental units from managed properties, newspaper classifieds and for-rent-by-owner properties. By incorporating the most relevant products to reach renters including personalized searches and highly visual ads featuring live chat, real-time rent, online video walk-through demonstrations, professional photography, a responsive website and iPhone and Android apps, Apartments.com creates easy access to its listings. Providing unmatched exposure to its advertisers through an intuitive name, strategic search engine placements and featured partnerships and more than 120 newspaper websites and innovative emerging media, Apartments.com reaches millions of renters nationwide, driving both qualified traffic and highly-engaged renters to leasing offices nationwide. Apartments.com is a division of Chicago-based Classified Ventures, LLC. The Apartments.com network of apartment rental websites includes Apartment Home Living (http://www.apartmenthomeliving.com), a leading social media apartment website distinguished by a "live for fun" community experience, proprietary lifestyle matching and local living guides to help renters find their perfect place to live and Rental Homes Plus (http://www.rentalhomesplus.com), an online destination where house hunters who prefer to rent can choose from a robust inventory of houses, condos, town houses, duplexes and apartments from around the country.