Miami suburbs see spike in renter population

by Andrew Morrell

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Renting has long been more popular than homeownership in some areas, but it’s increasingly shifting from a strictly urban phenomenon to a suburban one. According to data analyzed by RENTCafé, a few Miami-area suburbs ranked near the top of a nationwide ranking according to recent gains in renter households. 

Plantation, FL ranked the highest in the Miami area, with its renter count increasing 53 percent over the last five years. The average rent in Plantation also increased 18 percent over that time period, to an average of $1,680, RENTCafé reported. Tamarac, Doral, Sunrise and Coconut Creek also saw their renter populations increase by 40 percent or more over the last five years. Of that group, average rents were highest in Doral ($2,150 per month), while rents grew fastest in Tamarac (24 percent in the last five years).

Miami’s status as a suburban rental hotspot isn’t surprising, given the high level of investment there from single-family rental companies. The Wall Street Journal reported in July that the Miami metro had the third-most detached homes owned and rented out by property management firms or institutional investors.

Renter households across all property types have grown faster than the number of home-owning households in the last 10 years. Economists speculate that Americans today are more reluctant to own a home due to higher costs and still-fresh memories of the 2008 housing crisis. At the same time, a group of investment firms capitalized on the surge of foreclosures that followed that crisis, buying up homes at bargain prices and then marketing them as rentals. As may be the case in Atlanta, these rentals cater to residents who prefer suburban detached homes or who can’t afford a centrally located urban apartment.

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