What is the percentage of people want to move out before their rental lease agreement ends in the US?

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What is the percentage of people want to move out before their rental lease agreement ends in the US?

Hello! Thanks for your question regarding what percentage of US renters want to move out before their rental lease agreement ends. The most useful resources I found for your question are a study from the US Census Bureau issued in 2015 and a more recent study from Harvard University. Below you will find a deep dive of my findings.

METHODOLOGY

I searched around for studies of housing mobility and satisfaction, as well as some general information about what factors might motivate renters to leave their arrangements before the end of their lease. Harvard's housing studies were particularly helpful in finding facts about the rental market.

Harvard's big housing study was published in 2013, so where possible I've tried to supplement that with more recent statistics. The US Census Bureau published their most recent study of housing satisfaction in 2015 -- however, the data only covers 2010 and 2011. Wonder always tries to provide the most up-to-date statistics available, and in this case, though the data is old, these are the most recent applicable studies to this case.

WHY BREAK A LEASE?

This Harvard mobility study of Milwaukee residents found three basic reasons for moving or a desire to move: forced (formal or informal eviction); responsive ("motivated by housing or neighborhood conditions" such as "rent hikes, a deterioration in housing quality, escalating violence in the neighborhood, domestic violence, and relationship dissolution"); and voluntary ("intentional and unforced relocations").

Leasebreak, "a listings website for short- to mid-term rentals," conducted a poll of their users and found results that would mostly fall into Harvard's "voluntary move" category. Their most popular answer, at over 40%, was job relocation, followed by home purchase and general personal and relationship reasons.

CALCULATIONS

The renter portion of the US housing market increased from 31% in 2004 to 35% in 2012. Today, the rental market totals over 43 million households. If we were to identify the total number of renters in the US and then of that number identify those who broke their rental lease agreement, we could find the percentage of people who actually moved out before the end of their lease. Unfortunately, the percentage of those who "want" to move out before their rental agreement ends is not available. I will use a back-of-the-envelope estimation using this figure: 33% of renters broke leases, according to a rent.com survey of 1,000 respondents.

43,700,000 renter households * 33% who broke leases =14,421,000 households broke leases.

We know from the US Census Bureau that 9.6% of all Americans are not satisfied with where they live "to the point that they desire to move." That number was even higher -- 16.5% -- among renters alone. Between 2013 and 2014, 11.5% of Americans changed their address.

SUMMARY

While the exact number of those who want to move out before their rental agreement ends is not available, we can make a back-of-the-envelope estimation by multiplying the total number of renters in the US and a small population survey percentage offered by rent.com.

Census data provides percentages of those who are not satisfied where they live (could be renters or owners) and how many actually changed address. 9.6% of Americans (and 16.5% of renters) are unsatisfied with their current housing arrangement, and between 2013 and 2014, over 11% of Americans actually changed their address.

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