Miami area has third highest growth in suburban renters, study says

by Joe Ward

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Miami has seen the third-highest growth in suburban renters of any U.S. market, according to a new study by RentCafe.com.

Between 2011 and 2015, the Miami metro area has seen 56,800 new suburban renters, RentCafe reports. Only Riverside, CA, and Chicago added more total suburban renters. The study looks at the growth of suburban versus urban renters in the top 20 markets in the country to see where renters are now preferring to live. Though it is generally understood that high-density urban areas feature a high concentration of renters, the current reality is that renters are now as interested in the suburbs as the city.

Nationally, 19 out of the 20 largest cities saw larger gains in suburban renters than urban ones between 2001 and 2015, the study confirmed. Miami was no exception, as it had double the number of new suburban renters than urban ones, with 56,800 renting in the city in that time frame versus 27,000 in the city.

Miami an outlier

The study might not be too revelatory for many in Miami, which is known for its urban sprawl that encompasses quite a few suburbs and cities. In the Miami area, 64 percent of households that rent are in the suburbs, the third-highest total for any market in the country. That could be because, unlike in many other cities, there is virtually no discrepancy between suburban rents and urban ones. The median rent for an apartment in the Miami suburbs was $1,510, compared with $1,591 for the city, according to RentCafe.

But the study only accounts for rental activity up to 2015. Much of Miami proper has seen high levels of development and migration into gentrifying areas. Downtown and Wynwood, for example, have seen an explosion in rental units, as young professionals are still seeking easier commutes in more urban settings.

Nationally, construction in the suburbs has not kept up with the construction happening in the urban areas. A total of 300,000 new apartments were built in the 20 cities looked at by Rent Café, compared to 180,000 in the suburbs.

From 2011 to 2015, city apartment construction was up 224 percent nationwide, while suburban construction was up 146 percent. However, some experts believe that changing demographics may lead suburban apartment markets to become the next major trend in multifamily construction.

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