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No. 10: Springfield renters overtake homeowners, report says

2020 Business Year in Review

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During the past decade, the number of renters in Springfield quietly surpassed homeowners, and they now represent 59% of residential properties in city limits.

The transition, marked by an 11% increase of renters between 2010 and 2019, was revealed in a national analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by internet listing service RentCafe. With roughly 21,000 new renters, Springfield’s renter growth rate was second in the nation during the period, behind Waterbury, Connecticut, and it was the only Missouri city to shift to more renters than buyers in the report. RentCafe identified 23 cities, with at least 100,000 residents, where renter rates overcame ownership figures during the 2010-19 research period.

Those in the development industry consider it a promising sign for young professionals.

“Without the college students in this market – gosh, that would probably be 10,000-15,000 less units in Springfield,” said Bryan Magers, CEO of rental property management firm Bryan Properties, in response to the report.

According to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey data, the city’s largest population segment in the last decade is 20-24 year-olds. Residents of that age have represented a steady 14% of the city population since 2010.

Citing the nature of economic cycles, development officials also expect Springfield to swing back to a homebuyer’s market in the next 10 years – if students decide to stay and work after graduation.

“If we want young people to be here in college, right out of college, to start building a life here where they will ultimately own a home, it’s important that they have good options available to them at the various stages of their life,” said Matt Morrow, president of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, in a November interview.

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