San Francisco

Renter Population Becomes the Majority in Big U.S. Cities like Fremont: Report

With a growing population, an impactful recession and a housing crisis that "crushed the mortgage market," U.S. residents have chosen to rent properties instead of becoming homeowners, RENTcafé reports.

So much so that the renter population has increased significantly in 10 years, becoming the majority in big U.S. cities, something that may not come as a surprise to many Bay Area residents.

The nationwide apartment search website launched a report that analyzed the largest 100 U.S cities by population, comparing the number of people living in renter and owner-occupied units in 2006 and 2016.

In 2006, only 20 out of the 100 largest cities had more renters than owners. Fast forward to 2016, and that number grew to 42 out of 100 cities, according to RENTcafé.

One of the top 10 cities with the largest increases in renter share is Bay Area city Fremont, which takes the 6th highest percentage increase in renter share in the nation with a 31 percent growth since 2006.

As to the Bay Area cities with the highest number of renter share, Oakland leads the way with 58.9 percent of its population living in rental spaces, an 11.5 percent increase since 2006, RENTcafé reports.

San Francisco follows with 56.4 percent of its residents living in rental homes, just a 4.2 percent increase since 2006.

In San Jose, more than 96,800 people have chosen a renter lifestyle since 2006, a 16 percent increase, RENTcafé reports. However, unlike Oakland and San Francisco, it remains an owner-majority market.

It may be surprising to many that the only Bay Area city on the top 10 list of cities where renters became the majority population since 2006 is Fremont, but that is because other Bay Area cities already have large renter populations and in the 10-year span, from 2006 to 2016, other cities had larger increases in renter share.

According to RENTcafe, the population data used in their research was provided by the U.S. Census Bureau’s public databases (Population in Occupied Housing Units by Tenure). The population changes at national, state and city levels have been computed from the 2006 American Community Survey and the 2016 ACS One-Year Estimates.

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