The rental market in Virginia has been evolving over the last several years. Let’s take a closer look at some of the key shifts in the market based on data from the U.S Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

Renter growth in Virginia outpaced the U.S. over the last decade. As of 2021, there were more than one million renter households in Virginia which is 10.5% more renters than there were in 2011. While this trend of more renters overall is not unique to Virginia, our growth rate exceeded the nation, which had 8.4% more renters over the last ten years. This is likely driven by a combination of factors, from Virginia having a larger population of young adults than many other states (more likely to be renters), to having affordability and supply challenges in the for-sale market in several regional markets in the commonwealth (would-be buyers renting longer). The growth in renter households in Virginia suggests that the demand for rental housing has also increased, and as we’ve seen over the last couple years, upward pressure on rents continues to be a factor in many markets around the state.

Larger share of 55+ renters in Virginia than ten years ago. As of 2021, about one out of every five renters (21.6%) in Virginia were between 55 and 74 years old. Ten years ago, about one out of every six renters were in this age range (17%). Renters under 35 years of age still make up the largest share of renters in Virginia (34.8%), but this is down from where it was in 2011 (38.8%). This shift to more renters aging into their senior years suggests that demand for senior rental housing will continue to be a growing segment of the market in the commonwealth.

Big jump in married couple renters, and renters with roommates. In 2021, married couple renters accounted for more than one out of every three renter households in Virginia, making it the most common renter household type. This is up from 25.2% of all renters ten years ago. Non-family members not living alone, which represents unmarried couples, and roommates, accounted for 28.9% of renters in Virginia in 2021, up from 11.6% in 2011. Gains in these two household types suggest that larger rental units; for example, units with multiple bedrooms, are likely increasing in demand in many markets around the state.

For more information on demographic and economic trends in Virginia, be sure to check out Virginia REALTORS® other Economic Insights Blogs and our Data Page.