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Baltimore now has more renters than homeowners, analysis finds

More people rent where they live in Baltimore than own their homes, a swing that’s occurred over the past decade, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data by RentCafe.com.

The rental information website found that 52.5 percent of Baltimoreans — 310,945 people — lived in rented property in 2016, up from 45.5 percent a decade earlier in 2006. Meanwhile, the home ownership population fell to 281,290.

Baltimore is among 22 metro areas that swung to a renter majority in the years since the housing crisis, according to RentCafe. Now 42 of the top 100 metro areas have more people renting than owning.

RentCafe attributed the swing in Baltimore’s population decline, particularly “the shrinkage of the owner population, as the number of renters has increased.”

Renter growth outpaced home ownership growth in 97 of the top 100 cities, RentCafe found.

“The idea of owning a home lost much of the charm that once made it a structural element of the American Dream,” RentCafe said in a news release. “Although the most recent data shows that the growth of the rental segment is losing momentum, it’s in part because home ownership has great losses to recover and it’s just starting to bounce back from the impact of the recession.”

In 2016, for the first time since 2006, the home owner population grew faster than the renting population.

Noting a growing rebound in home ownership nationwide, RentCafe said: “It seems more and more certain that the fact that renting has seen a sudden gain in popularity is more a reaction to the economic crisis than a paradigm shift in the Americans’ attitude toward housing.”

While renters are now in the majority in Baltimore, the city has a long way to go to rival such cities as Boston, Los Angeles, Miami and New York, where the renter share is more than 60 percent. In Newark, N.J., the renter share is nearly 75 percent, the highest among the nation’s top 100 metro areas.

In Baltimore, RentCafe found the average rent is $1,147 a month, up 1 percent over a year ago.

cdinsmore@baltsun.com

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