Rental concessions, such as a free month’s rent, appear to be luring Gen Z out of their parents’ basements and back into the rental market. New Zillow research finds more Gen Z adults, ages 18 to 25, who had been living with family or friends say they’re now renting, and most say they got a better deal on their new rental.
A Zillow survey finds more than a third (34%) of Gen Z renters who moved in the past year say they moved from the home of a family member or friend. That’s up from 20% who reported the same in an April survey. This data is consistent with previous Zillow research that found the number of young adults living with parents or grandparents was beginning to fall in September, after rising dramatically in the spring.
As for renters who moved from a previous rental within the past year, a majority aren’t saving money. More than half (51%) report paying more than before and 14% report paying the same. Nationwide, typical monthly rent was up 0.9% in September, but lower than last year in seven major metro areas, including Austin and Chicago. Still, 57% of Gen Z renters cite finding a better deal on rent as a reason for their move, suggesting they’re trading up.
“What we’re seeing is that renters who might have been in a small apartment are instead looking at larger units — maybe a two-bedroom instead of a one-bedroom,” said Zillow Premier Agent Kenny Truong, founder of Fast Real Estate in the San Francisco Bay Area. “Some others are moving to a rental with a view or a yard for a similar price.”
Nearly half of Gen Z renters (49%) indicated they were motivated to move because their new rental offered promotions or concessions, like a free month of rent, free parking or a reduced security deposit.
Rental concessions climbed from 16% to 30% between January and August. Since then, the share of rentals offering concessions has stabilized at around 34% nationally in October, with notable exceptions. More than half of rental listings in Washington, D.C., Charlotte and San Jose offered some kind of concession in October.
Concessions often add up to big savings for renters. Concessions offered in six large markets (Boston, Chicago, Indianapolis, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.) amounted to savings equal to two months free rent assuming a year-long lease (16.7%, or 1/6 off total rent). In all 50 of the largest markets, the minimum median savings rate was 8.3% or higher.
“The effective savings rate is what renters would save on their typical housing costs over the course of their lease because of both lower rent prices and concessions,” said Zillow economist Joshua Clark. “Those savings could be enough to cover the cost difference between a one-bedroom and a two-bedroom unit. Plus, if these Gen Z renters who moved home retained their jobs through the pandemic, they’ve likely saved enough to afford a larger or more desirable apartment.”
The return of tech-savvy Gen Z renters to the market is also reflected in the rise in demand for digital rental tools, like Zillow 3D home tours. Zillow’s recent survey found renters were more likely to agree that 3D and unassisted technology would help with their home search, compared to Zillow’s findings in April 2020. More than six out of 10 of Gen Z renters who moved in the past year say they wished more listings offered a 3D tour (62%), and agree that 3D tours would help give them a better feel for a space than static photos (64%).
This survey data shows positive momentum for Gen Z renters, but young adults continue to face higher rates of unemployment and an uncertain future. Previous Zillow research found in April, when many stay-home orders went into effect, 13.1 million young adults were living with parents and not employed, up from 8.5 million, a 53% jump from pre-pandemic conditions in February. By August, 10.2 million unemployed young adults were still living at home, suggesting while the numbers are improving, there is still a long road to independence for many in Gen Z.
Effective Savings Rate (Oct. 2020)
Share of Rental Listings with Concessions (Oct. 2020)
Share of Rental Listings with Concessions (Oct. 2019)
New York, NY
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA
Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
Miami-Fort Lauderdale, FL
San Francisco, CA
Minneapolis-St Paul, MN
San Diego, CA
St. Louis, MO
San Antonio, TX
Kansas City, MO
Las Vegas, NV
San Jose, CA
Virginia Beach, VA
Oklahoma City, OK
Louisville-Jefferson County, KY
New Orleans, LA
Salt Lake City, UT
*Table ordered by market size
About Zillow Group
Zillow Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: Z and ZG) is reimagining real estate to make it easier to unlock life’s next chapter.
As the most-visited real estate website in the U.S., Zillow® and its affiliates offer customers an on-demand experience for selling, buying, renting or financing with transparency and nearly seamless end-to-end service. Zillow Offers® buys and sells homes directly in dozens of markets across the country, allowing sellers control over their timeline. Zillow Home Loans™, our affiliate lender, provides our customers with an easy option to get pre-approved and secure financing for their next home purchase. Zillow recently launched Zillow Homes, Inc., a licensed brokerage entity, to streamline Zillow Offers transactions.
Zillow Group’s affiliates and subsidiaries include Zillow®, Zillow Offers®, Zillow Premier Agent®, Zillow Home Loans™, Zillow Closing Services™, Zillow Homes, Inc., Trulia®, Out East®, StreetEasy® and HotPads®. Zillow Home Loans, LLC is an Equal Housing Lender, NMLS #10287 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org).
 Zillow Group Population Science collected a nationally representative sample of more than 1,000 renters (household decision makers that rent their primary residence and moved in the past year). From October 22nd, 2020 to November 5th, 2020, the survey asked renters questions about their motivations for moving and how the COVID19 pandemic affected their decisions.
To achieve national representativeness, quotas for age, ethnicity/race, education, income, region, relationship status, and sex limited oversampling of any given demographic group. In addition to quotas, ZG Population Science used statistical ranking to weight the sample to the US Census Bureau American Community Survey 2018 sample of renters that moved in the past year. Weighting used the same variables as the quotas. Margins of error are at a 95% confidence interval.