Finding a new place to rent is harder now than it's been since 1984.
The U.S. rental vacancy rate stood at 5.8% through the third quarter of 2022—the latest data available, according to the Census Bureau. Housing hasn't been this scarce in nearly 40 years.
Meanwhile, the cost of renting has increased dramatically: The median cost for available units reached $2,000 for the first time in May 2022, according to a report from Redfin. One of the biggest reasons for the increase is the corresponding growth in the cost to buy a home.
Belong calculated the average rental vacancy rates by state, with third-quarter vacancy data used to break ties.
Higher-income families are now choosing to rent at a higher rate than in previous years. Between 2009 and 2019, the number of families making $75,000 or more that chose to rent rose 48%, according to a report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. The increased cost of homeownership is just one reason for the change, the report says, as some households are choosing to rent because of the increase in "amenity-rich rental units in desirable locations."
In areas such as the Sun Belt, the rise in remote work brought more residents seeking lower housing costs and better weather, especially in metro areas and their suburbs.
A Rent analysis from the second quarter of 2022 found more renters were interested in moving to the Midwest or the South than they were the West or Northeast. Part of that is likely the cost of rent, the analysis found, with many of the most expensive rental cities in the Northeast and West.