Feb 2, 2024 - News

More rich people in San Francisco are choosing to rent

someone jaywalks in front of apartment buildings

The Richmond District in San Francisco in 2021. Photo: Marlena Sloss/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The latest data from RentCafe reveals the number of renters who are millionaires in San Francisco has quadrupled between 2020 and 2022.

Why it matters: We've long been told real estate is the best investment you can make, but more people with extra cash are choosing to put it elsewhere.

What they're saying: "Even though they're still a small group, the increasing number of millionaire renters indicates a shift in how well-off people approach lifestyle and investment decisions nowadays," RentCafe analyst Veronica Grecu tells Axios.

By the numbers: In 2022, there were 1,778 millionaire renter households in San Francisco, compared with just 437 in 2020.

  • In the San Francisco metropolitan area, which includes Oakland and Hayward in addition to San Francisco, there were 1,628 millionaire households in 2022 compared with 774 in 2020.
Data: RentCafe; Note: Ranking includes cities with at least 100 renter households with incomes of more than $1 million; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: RentCafe; Note: Ranking includes cities with at least 100 renter households with incomes of more than $1 million; Chart: Axios Visuals

The big picture: The number of millionaire renters across the U.S. nearly tripled from 2020 to 2022, per RentCafe data.

  • Grecu predicts that number will continue to grow in the near term, especially in high-cost cities.

What's happening: Renting is the better deal in nearly every U.S. city. So instead of dumping their capital into homeownership, affluent renters are growing wealth by putting their money into "stocks, bonds, their businesses, or other assets," Grecu says.

"By renting — especially in top-notch neighborhoods — they can stay nimble, ready to move or shift their investments as the market changes," Grecu says.

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