Apr 26, 2023 - Real Estate

Richmond's new class of renters

Data: RentCafe; Chart: Tory Lysik/Axios Visuals
Data: RentCafe; Chart: Tory Lysik/Axios Visuals

People who make $150,000 or more a year are the fastest-growing sector of renters in the Richmond area, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

Why it matters: The push comes as many would-be homebuyers rent longer, incentivizing developers to compete for a growing cohort of high-income renters for their properties.

State of play: Saltwater pools, doggie spas, in-house spin studios, valet trash service and attached garages are just some of the amenities Richmond's growing stock of luxury apartments are touting to lure in renters.

By the numbers: The number of Richmond-area renters earning $150,000 or more grew 101% between 2016 and 2021, per census data.

  • That's higher than the national average increase of 87.5%.
  • And the number of renters earning $100,000-$149,000 jumped by 60% in the same time period.

Be smart: The median rent in the Richmond area hit $1,749 last month, but many luxury apartments can go for significantly more.

The big picture: Apartment construction is booming nationwide. Historically, new rental housing tends to hit at the higher end of the market, Chris Salviati, senior economist at Apartment List, tells Axios.

  • That trend has become more pronounced in recent years as rising project costs squeeze developers, he says.

Between the lines: High listing prices and mortgage rates aren’t making homebuying as desirable as it once was, Salviati says.

  • "A lot of folks in that high-income band, who in the past would have owned homes, are now continuing to rent — whether that's for lifestyle reasons or because they are feeling like it's not a good time to buy," he says.

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