Looking for Rental Property? Focus on the Neighborhood Too

Since 1965, there has been a significant increase in the number of US households headed by renters, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of the Census Bureau’s housing data. From 2006 to 2016, the number of households in the US grew by a whopping 7.6 million. However, due to the housing crisis, not many of them were headed by owners. The number of households headed by renters grew by 10% during this period.

PEW Research Center


Rent café added that in 2006, only 20 out of the 100 largest cities had more renters than owners However, in 2016, around 42 cities became renter dominated.

Needless to say, renting homes has been overtaking the house market. Increased student debt, rising home prices and fear of another housing crash are the major reasons driving US citizens towards renting. However, even when renting, people have become extra cautious about the neighborhood, when choosing rental property.

Earlier tree-lined streets and a strong community were enough to make a neighborhood desirable for potential renters. Things have, however, changes over the years, with people now looking for something more. Although they aren’t looking for a cookie cutter neighborhood, they do want surroundings that match their needs in the present and the near future.

Here are a few things that are most renters looked for in a neighborhood.

Matching Lifestyle

When a person rents or buys a home, they are also buying into the neighborhood, while becoming a part of it. Your neighborhood significantly impacts your lifestyle and well being. It can change the way you think and act, hence should be chosen wisely. Not all areas are a perfect fit for everyone, since not all neighborhoods are created equal. The neighborhood is desirable if it matches with the current or aspirational lifestyle of the renter.

Standard of Living

Location is highly important for potential tenants. Tenants look for property that aids their standard of living. The property should not only be too close to their place of employment, but should have easy access to community parks, grocery stores, restaurants and parking space. Finding all these aspects in a single property might even prompt them to agree to a slightly higher rent than they had planned for.

Safety and Security

Crime rates have plummeted over the last two decades. People are often scared of becoming a victim of a neighborhood crime. Choosing a neighborhood with a low crime rate gives renters a sense of security. It assures them of being surrounded by good people. To tell whether a neighborhood is transitioning and improving or not, look for the rate of decline in the crime rate.

Outdoor Activities

Americans who have long suffered from obesity are becoming more conscious of their health. Be it a quick game of tennis, a brisk walk in the park or jogging, they are ready for it all. According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, a 5-10 minute, low-intensity run can extend life by several years, compared to those who do not run at all. A neighborhood become desirable it if is super close to places where people can participate in outdoor activities.

Educational Facilities

According to data published by the National Center for Educated Statistics, 77.4 million students are expected to attend private and public elementary and secondary schools by 2020, a number that is significantly higher than the 55.8 million elementary and secondary school enrollments in 2017. Close proximity to good schools is the first thing a renter with children looks for. House hunters take into consideration the ratings and reviews of the nearby schools. Having good schools adds value to the surroundings and makes it more sought after.

Lastly, rental properties that are close to a doctor’s office or hospital also tend to score higher among renters, especially those with seniors and/or retirees in the family.