There’s been an interesting shift in the rental market. Most often, renters fall into one of a few categories: people who move around frequently due to job changes, young (without the nest egg to put a down payment on a house), elderly on a fixed income (who can’t afford “surprise” expenses related to home maintenance projects like a new roof), or other people who may not have the money to either come up with the down payment or deal with the maintenance and tax costs of home ownership.
However, there’s a new demographic that is growing rapidly: older, wealthier people, specifically grandparents who rent in order to be able to be near their grandchildren. Some are renting in the same place they’ve lived (and have sold their homes there) and are traveling to see their children and grandchildren. For those, if the apartment is a bit smaller than what they are used to, but they are only in it for shorter periods of time between visits to their families, smaller and maintenance-free living may be very appealing. Other grandparents are keeping their homes but renting small apartments in the locations where their grandchildren are, so they have a place to eat and sleep, but are really spending most of their time at their kids’ homes, on the soccer field, etc. with their grandchildren.
Obviously, maintaining two households, even if one is an apartment, suggests a certain economic level. I anticipate that, to serve this population, some small, but relatively luxurious rental units will start popping up. This type of housing will also appeal to the “executive renter” who may have just moved for a job and hasn’t bought a house yet or might be on a 2-year work stint where buying doesn’t make sense. So keep an eye out for growth in that sector of the residential real esate market!