U.S. households spent a record amount on rent in 2018, according to a new data analysis from the Zillow company HotPads.
During this year, renters spent a cumulative total of $504.4 billion on their housing—$12.6 billion more than the 2017 level. The current median rent is $1,475, up three percent from last year. However, there were fewer people renting: Roughly 43.2 million renter households, nearly 100,000 fewer than in 2017.
"After several years of a booming economy, more millennials became financially able to become home owners in 2018," said Joshua Clark, Economist at HotPads. "However, rent affordability continues to be a challenge, as those who still rent are paying even higher prices now than they were a year ago. If interest rates continue rising in 2019, more would-be homebuyers may decide to continue renting, which could put additional pressure on rent prices. Fortunately for renters, the housing market is also cooling nationwide, signaling that the entire market may be leveling off and making it easier for renters to keep up with housing expenses."