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Renters: Finding Greener Pastures?

TLDR: Renters are moving to suburbs, based on 6 million renters’ moves tracked over 12 months. Some wealthy renters are buying homes more aggressively.

We analysed 6 million renters across 4 CBSAs to see if COVID had induced any changes to mobility, net migration and home-ownership trends

CBSA Renters Tracked (2020) 2015 Population 2015 Annual Net Migration (All)
Philadelphia, PA1,386,0796,053,7201,894
Atlanta, GA1,458,7935,615,36453,768
Chicago, IL2,238,4629,557,294-36,047
San Diego, CA1,211,0373,265,70019,212
Overview of the CBSA’s analysed

We broke the tracked renters, into 2 cohorts of movers, people moving before COVID and during COVID.

(a) 01 Nov’19 – 01 Mar’20 (Pre-COVID), figures in RED

(b) 01 Mar’20 – 01 Sept’20 (Post-COVID), figures in GREEN

Since the US national emergency was declared on 03/13, this cut-off date is a decent proxy for observing changes in behavior, employment and migration patterns.

The below is for analysis purposes, and aims to find trends in renter behavior due to the pandemic.

Check 1: People did move Post-COVID, despite lockdown


% of renters who moved pre and post COVID. 50% more moved post-COVID

Check 2: More renters are buying homes than Pre-COVID

% of Renters who moved to be owners. 70% increase post COVID

Check 3: In need for space, Apartment renters are not moving to Single Family Homes post-COVID

% of multifamily renters who moved to single family. No pronounced trend

Check 4: Incomes have dropped for renters

% of renters who saw a drop in income. Highest in Chicago and Philly.

Check 5: Renters are moving to suburbs Post-COVID

Renters who moved 5km+. Highest in SD and Chicago

Top-5 Zips to Move to: Pre-COVID red, Post green

Chicago saw a lot of dispersion outside the city
Atlanta fared well, with a strong demand for inner city pads
Philly is seeing renters cross the bridge to NJ
San Diego: All quiet on the waterfront

Philadelphia, PA

Pre CovidNeighborhoodPost CovidNeighborhood
19143Kingsessing08110Delair, NJ (suburb)
19130Fairmount District08009Berlin, NJ (suburb)
19103Center City08105Camden, NJ (suburb)
19146Point Breeze19525Gilbertsville, PA (suburb)
19139Haddington08102Pyne Point, NJ (suburb)

Atlanta, GA

Pre CovidAreaPost CovidArea
30080Smyrna30336Fulton County
30349College Park30301Downtown
30083Stone Mountain30092Norcross
30096Duluth30248Locust Grove
30350Sandy Springs31119Buckhead

Chicago, IL

Pre CovidAreaPost CovidArea
60657Lakeview60124Elgin (suburb)
60640Uptown60603Loop
60647Bucktown60606Loop
60636W. Englewood60585Plainfield, IL (suburb)
60614Depaul60554Sugar Grove (suburb)

San Diego, CA

Pre CovidAreaPost CovidArea
92109Pacific Beach91931Guatay, CA (suburb)
92104North Park92170Horton Plaza
92101Little Italy91905Boulevard, CA (suburb)
92107Point Loma Heights92175College East
92126Mira Mesa (suburb)92051Townsite

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