Rich renters surpass affluent homeowners in San Francisco, according to new data from RentCafe. Using 2015 Census data, the report revealed that the number of renters earning over $150,000 a year is up to 56,591 households-a 35 percent increase over 2014’s figures and about 2,000 more than the number of owner-occupied households. (The number of rich homeowners increased as well, though not by nearly as much.) RentCafe called the situation “atypical,” pointing out that nationwide there are seven times more owner-occupiers earning above $150,000 than renter households.
In fact, nearly one-quarter of all renter households in SF make over $150,000, according to RentCafe, which means that the city has the highest percentage of affluent renters in the country-though not the highest number. New York City took that prize with 212,000 renters that make more than $150,000. But because there are so many more renters there than in SF, that figure only accounts for 10 percent of NYC’s renters.
Fort Worth, Texas saw the biggest increase in high-rolling renters; between 2014 and 2015 the number of renters earning over $150,000 was up 77 percent. Portland, Oregon was right behind with a 71 increase in rich renters.
The same factors that are making Portland and Fort Worth so popular with well-off renters is also at work in SF-namely a hot employment market with many high-paying jobs combined with a changing mindset about the importance of home ownership.
“The attitude toward renting has been changing,” according to the report. “The increased interest in renting among a population segment that is typically made up of homeowners comes in the wake of the housing crisis. For many it’s a matter of caution, a hindsight ‘lesson learned’ behavior that keeps even people with high-paying jobs in the renting pool longer. For some it’s a lifestyle choice, as renting is more popular thanks to the high-end apartment market phenomenon that’s been spreading all over the U.S. in the last couple of years. Or maybe it means that an increasing number of people believe that homeownership is not the only way to have a fulfilled and successful life.”