About a third of households in Virginia are renters, and thousands of Virginians are owners of rental properties. There is an important relationship between the for-sale market and the rental market, so understanding trends in the rental market is important for all real estate professionals. New research from Virginia REALTORS® offers critical information about Virginia’s renter population, the changing composition of rental stock, and the impact of COVID-19 on the rental housing market.

Some key findings from the report include:

  • There are over a million renter households in Virginia. In recent years, higher-income households and older residents have fueled the growth in the renter population across the state.
  • Renters have been hard hit by the current economic downturn and COVID-19 pandemic. More than a quarter of Virginia renters say that they are worried about being able to make their rent next month.
  • Small apartment buildings (i.e., those with fewer than 20 units) and single-family homes comprise the bulk of the rental stock in Virginia.
  • Individual investors own the vast majority of rental properties, typically single-family rental units or units in buildings with between two and four units.
  • Statewide, rents have increased by more than 23% since 2010. However, in some high-cost markets, there has been a softening of rent growth during the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn.

The rental market has been more resilient in Virginia than it has in other parts of the country and the outlook for the rental housing market is positive for 2021. There will be rent growth in most markets in Virginia in the year to come, with rising demand for single-family rental options and rental homes in suburban and rural communities.

For more information on Virginia’s housing market and economy, please visit the Virginia REALTORS® Research & Statistics website.