Dec 11, 2023 - Real Estate

Rent is eating up young San Antonians' income

Share who spend 30 percent or more of their income on housing in the San Antonio area, 2022
Data: Census Bureau; Chart: Simran Parwani/Axios Note: Based on household income. A householder is the person or people in whose name the housing unit is owned or rented. Renter housing costs include monthly contract rent and utilities paid by the renter while owner costs include monthly mortgage payments and things like real estate taxes and insurance.

If you see an early 20-something out and about in San Antonio, buy them a meal. Better yet, just slip them some cash.

Driving the news: About 66% of San Antonio renters 24 and younger spend at least 30% of their income on rent, according to the latest Census Bureau data.

  • And the stats don't look much better for adults 65 and older who don't own a home.

Why it matters: Steep house prices and high mortgage rates pose seemingly insurmountable hurdles to homeownership — and renting isn't necessarily an affordable alternative.

  • Spending 30% of your income on rent is "the new normal," according to economists at Moody's Analytics.

Go deeper: 34% of Gen Zers surveyed by Freddie Mac say owning a home feels impossible in their lifetime, up from 27% in 2019.

  • Saving for a down payment is the biggest obstacle. That's one reason the typical first-time homebuyer last year was age 36, the oldest ever, per the National Association of Realtors.

Yes, but: The vast majority of young renters aren't buying for lifestyle reasons, preferring the flexibility to move, RealPage chief economist Jay Parsons tells Axios.

Reality check: Older Americans on fixed incomes are especially burdened by high housing costs, contributing to rising homelessness among Baby Boomers, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The big picture: Across the U.S., pinched young people are fanning out from big cities, returning to their childhood bedrooms or moving in with partners.


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