The U.S. gained more than 770,000 new renters in 2014, which — along with rising rents across the country — drove the cumulative amount paid in rent to $441 billion. The cumulative total rose 4.9 percent in 2014, from last year’s total of $420.4 billion.
Renters in the New York-Northern New Jersey metro paid the biggest chunk in 2014, shelling out $50 billion cumulatively in rent payments, up from $48.2 billion in 2013.
On a per-month basis, renters in the Bay Area saw the biggest increases. Rent per household in San Jose, CA rose by $197 per month, while rent in the San Francisco metro rose by $163 per month.
Zillow’s new analysis comes as rental affordability continues to decrease across the country. Recent data showed that, on a monthly basis, renting is half as affordable as buying. Zillow expects another increase in cumulative rent next year as rents continue to rise faster than home values.
“Over the past 14 years, rents have grown at twice the pace of income due to weak income growth, burgeoning rental demand and insufficient growth in the supply of rental housing,” said Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries. “This has created real opportunities for rental housing owners and investors, but has also been a bitter pill to swallow for tenants, particularly those on an entry-level salary and those would-be buyers struggling to save for a down payment on a home of their own.”