STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Gone are the days when the rental market was filled with recent college grads, who were looking to move in with a few friends in order to save money to one day buy a house.
While rents have rocketed across the city — causing many millennials to live at home longer — the demographic of those seeking apartments has changed in a big way.
In fact, the new renters are the parents of the millennial generation. There were 125,000 new renters from 2009 to 2015 from the baby-boom generation who abandoned homeownership in favor of renting in New York City, according to a recent study by Rent Cafe.
“We looked at the renter population between 2009 and 2015 by age group, education level and family type. And we found the fastest-growing segment of the country’s rental population were those age 55 and older. They increased by 28 percent nationally. The highly-educated renter, holding a bachelor degree or higher, increased by 23 percent nationally,” said Nadia Balint of Rent Cafe.
“You are seeing older couples, empty-nesters, highly educated, who are choosing the renting lifestyle for various reasons,” she added.
2.5 MILLION STRONG
On a national level, about 2.5 million households of people age 55 or older joined the renter cohort nationwide between 2009 and 2015, compared to a mere half million new renters under 34, according to the study.
And this trend holds true on Staten Island — partly because the prices of homes have rocketed across the borough.
“I am seeing more seniors looking to rent as the prices of the traditional empty nest downsizing options — condos and co-ops on one level — continue to go up,” said Andrew D. Klapper, a real estate attorney and partner in the West Brighton firm of Klapper & Klapper.
“They [baby boomers] are looking for low-maintenance, high-convenience, and no stairs to walk. They get all of this, and no unexpected repair and maintenance expenses in rental buildings, with the additional benefit, a fixed monthly housing expense,” he added.
NOT ENOUGH RETIREMENT SAVINGS
Many Realtors say part of the issue is many baby boomers failed to sock away enough money for retirement.
“The sad reality for baby boomers is the fact that a large segment of this generation has failed to put aside enough money for retirement in their 401(k) or retirement plans,” said Joan Camerlengo, broker/owner of Joan Camerlengo Realty in New Dorp.
“Unfortunately, social security benefits are not enough to make ends meet. As a result, some are forced to sell their homes in order to lower their living expenses. As the findings note, this is one way that retirees can simplify their lifestyles and expenses,” she added.
However, most of the borough’s baby boomers who choose to sell their homes and move into a rental are most often doing it off-Island.
“We have had a number of clients sell their homes on Staten Island and relocate to parts of Southern New Jersey and Pennsylvania,” said Camerlengo.
“A few of our clients have chosen to downsize from detached homes on Staten Island and purchase condominiums on Staten Island in an effort to reduce costs and create an easier lifestyle in their retirement.” she added.
THE EDUCATED RENTER
New York is also one of the few U.S. metros where the number of renters with a high-school diploma or less is decreasing, according tot he study. At the same time, there has been a 14 percent increase in renters with a bachelor degree or higher, according to Rent Cafe.
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