Zumper’s year-end report: Interest rates, recession worries weighing down renters

Worried consumers. That’s what Zumper’s Annual Rent Report for 2022 uncovered. The renters whom Zumper surveyed for its end-of-the-year report agreed that the U.S. economy was slipping into a recession, and they expressed little to no confidence that the economy would improve anytime soon.

The report, then, is a bit of a downbeat way to end the year. It’s not surprising, though, considering the uncertainty that comes with rising interest rates and persistent inflation.

A total of 76% of the respondents in Zumper’s year-end report said that they think the United States is in a recession. And 62% of respondents said that they weren’t confident in the country’s economy. A total of 63% said that they had recently moved because their monthly apartment rent was getting too expensive.

In a sign that more renters are struggling economically as 2022 draws to a close, 31% of respondents told Zumper that they were behind in their rent, while 36% said that they are spending more than 45% of their incomes on their monthly rent.

The country’s economic uncertainty has hit the multifamily market, that is made clear in Zumper’s report. According to Zumper, the national median one-bedroom apartment did rise in December, hitting $1,497. But rent growth has definitely leveled off, with the national median one-bedroom rent rising less than half of a percentage point in December.

The national median rents for two-bedroom apartments actually fell in December, dropping 0.1% to $1,822.

What will the future bring for the apartment market? That’s unclear. But demand for multifamily living doesn’t appear to be tapering off, largely because it is so expensive today to buy a single-family home. According to Zumper’s year-end survey, 28% of respondents said that the traditional American Dream no longer involves owning a home. And the percentage of respondents who said that now was a good time to buy a home? Just 27%. A total of 32% of survey participants said that rising interest rates have deterred them from buying a home this year.