Skip to Content

Understanding Your Rental Property’s Demographic

Dane County Rental Home with “For Rent” SignageAs a Dane County rental property owner, you have to appreciate your local renter demographic to guarantee your property is leased. According to the National Multifamily Housing Council, single-family rental households are expected to grow by nearly eight million from 2018 to 2030. To continue this demand, property owners and managers need to know who their target market is and what they’re looking for in a rental property.

Most Likely to Rent – All Property Types

The demographic most likely to rent a property is young adults. This is real in every market across the country. A recent study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University found that 78 percent of all householders under 25 rent their homes. This is principally because many young people are in a transitional stage of life, characterized by higher levels of mobility, more flexible job tenure, and shifting relationships. Owning a home at this stage can be difficult and costly, so renting often makes more sense.

But young adults tend to dictate the rental market, there are significant numbers of renters in almost all other age ranges as well. On a national level, the same study found that two-thirds of people 25–30 years old still rent their homes, while one-third of people over 40 and one-fifth of people over age 55 do so. While not all adults choose to rent, an increasing number are doing so in recent years. Older adults who choose to rent frequently do so because they don’t want the hassle of home maintenance or the financial risks associated with a volatile housing market.

Most Likely to Rent Single-Family Homes

It is clear that people of all ages rent their homes, and depending on your location, the age range of the most populous renter demographic may be different. It is also true that different rental property types are more in-demand in some areas than in others. In the single-family rental market, single-family rental homes tend to outnumber all other types of rental properties in the West and the South, while multifamily rental properties dominate in the East and, to a lesser extent, the Midwest.

What this means is that rental property owners should be aware of the type of rental property that is most in-demand in their area and the age ranges of their target market. Most people who choose to rent a single-family property do so because they need more space, want a yard for their pets, or are looking to raise children in a suburban environment. But in college towns, popular retirement communities, and similarly unique areas, your single-family rental property may still be a favorite option for seniors or young single adults. Therefore, it’s important to understand the needs and wants of your target demographic in order to keep your rental property leased.


Although important, understanding your local renter demographic can sometimes be a challenge, especially if your rental property is located in a distant or developing area. In such situations, it can be helpful to enlist a Dane County property management expert to help you successfully prepare and market your rental property. At Real Property Management Greater Madison Metro, we have the experience and expertise necessary to help you understand your target market and make sure your rental property is leased to qualified tenants. Contact us online to learn more.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.