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

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