Houston Becoming a Region of Renters

The area has seen a sharp increase in renters as rising housing costs put homeownership out of reach for more households and investors convert single-family homes to multifamily rentals.

1 minute read

December 14, 2022, 9:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Low aerial view of two-story suburban Houston homes

Allison J. Hahn / Suburban Houston homes

The Houston region, famous for single-family sprawl, is quickly becoming a region of renters, reports Kennedy Sessions in the Houston Chronicle. “Overall, 58 percent of Houstonians and 45 percent of Harris County residents rent their homes, according to a 2021 census data report,” Sessions writes. 

The region saw 38,000 new renters in 2021, the highest number since Hurricane Katrina drove people fleeing the Louisiana coast to Houston. More than half of Houstonians now rent their homes, while 45 percent of Harris County residents are renters.

Some of the many single-family homes in the region are being converted to multifamily use, putting more rental units on the market, in many cases in low-income communities that experienced high rates of foreclosures. According to Rice University Kinder Institute Research scientist Stephen Averill Sherman, “it's not uncommon now for entire suburban neighborhoods of single-family homes to be built as rental properties.” 

Meanwhile, the rising cost of homeownership and low supply of homes are driving more households to rent. As Sessions explains, “The 2022 state of housing report concluded that despite the high demand seen in the Houston housing market over the last 18 months, developers could not respond to the mad dash for real estate due to increased material costs and supply chain issues.”

Monday, December 12, 2022 in Houston Chronicle

Green rapid transit bus pulled into station in dedicated lane.

Indiana Once Again Considering Ban on Dedicated Transit Lanes

The proposed legislation would impact the construction of planned IndyGo Blue Line, the third phase of the city’s bus rapid transit system.

February 25, 2024 - Fox 59

Aerial view of New York City architecture with augmented reality visualization, blue digital holograms over buildings and skyscrapers

4 Ways to Use AI in Urban Planning and City Design

With the ability to predict trends, engage citizens, enhance resource allocation, and guide decision-making, artificial intelligence has the potential to serve as planners’ very own multi-tool.

February 20, 2024 - ArchDaily

View from shore of Sepulveda Basin water catchment basin with marsh plants along shore.

LA’s ‘Spongy’ Infrastructure Captured Almost 9 Billion Gallons of Water

The city is turning away from stormwater management practices that shuttle water to the ocean, building infrastructure that collects and directs it underground instead.

February 25, 2024 - Wired

Black-and-white photo of street with old black model T and brick building on the corner.

The History of Racial Zoning and Housing Discrimination in the US

More than a century of discriminatory housing policy divided cities and contributed to the racial wealth gap and other social and economic inequities.

9 minutes ago - Urban Land Magazine

Aerial view of Vail, Colorado in winter with multi-story buildings in foregorund and snowy mountains in background.

Opinion: Resort Towns Must Take Action to Keep Housing Affordable

The workers that keep many popular tourist destinations running find it more difficult to find affordable housing near their jobs as more remote workers move to scenic resort areas.

1 hour ago - Governing

Aerial view of downtown San Antonio, Texas.

Commentary: San Antonio Needs ‘Thoughtful Reforms’ to Improve Affordability

The growing Texas city needs a new approach to meet its residents’ housing and mobility needs.

2 hours ago - San Antonio Report

Senior Planner

Heyer Gruel Associates

Regional Transportation Planner

Crater Planning District Commission

Senior Planner- Long range

Prince William County Planning Office

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.