Surging Rents Push More Americans to Live With Roommates or Parents
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Surging Rents Push More Americans to Live With Roommates or Parents

Apartment demand in the third quarter was lowest of any quarter since 2009

Wed, Oct 26, 2022 9:00amGrey Clock 4 min

After a long stretch of record-high rents, Americans are renting fewer apartments as demand in the third quarter fell to its lowest level in 13 years.

Some renters are choosing to take on roommates, while others are boarding with family or friends. More people are opting to stay longer in their parents’ homes or moving back in, rather than pay steep rent increases, according to a recent UBS survey.

Apartment demand in the quarter, measured by the one-year change in the occupancy of units, was the lowest since 2009, when the U.S. was feeling the effects of the subprime crisis, according to rental software company RealPage. Measured quarterly, the drop in demand was the worst of any third quarter—normally prime leasing season—in the more than 30 years RealPage has compiled the data.

Meanwhile, the apartment-vacancy rate rose to 5.5% in the third quarter, up from 5.1% the quarter prior, according to property data firm CoStar.

Rents have risen 25% over the past two years, according to rental website Apartment List, pushing many renters beyond what they can now afford. Meanwhile, inflation on other essential goods, such as food and energy, is also eating into how much people have left to spend on housing.

“It’s a signal that rent can’t continue at the same level it has sustained over the last couple of years,” said Michael Goldsmith, an analyst at UBS. “We’ve reached a point where renters are maybe willing to pull out of the market.”

The apartment rental market looks to be cooling following a boom that started in early 2021. After the introduction of a Covid-19 vaccine, many people—especially younger people who had been living with their parents—rushed to rent in cities around the country. That boosted apartment demand and put upward pressure on rents. Some rental apartments were even subject to bidding wars.

Record high housing prices also played a role. They priced out many Americans who wanted to buy starter homes but instead have remained captives of the rental market. Home prices are now falling on a monthly basis, however, according to the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index.

Rental prices have started to fall on a monthly basis for the first time in nearly two years, too, while other recent data points also show that renters are starting to push back.

Shonda Austin, a home healthcare worker, and her three children moved into her mother’s house in Flint, Mich., this month after facing a 24% rent increase in Las Vegas. She hopes to return to a home of her own by March to somewhere more affordable, such as Arkansas or North Carolina, where she could potentially buy.

“My goal is to just save as much as I can,” Ms. Austin said.

The supply of new apartments, which has grown this year in large markets such as Phoenix and Dallas, may be contributing to the drop in overall demand, because new projects add empty units to a slowing market. Economic uncertainty rooted in fears of a recession may also be contributing to lower apartment demand.

Leasing also typically eases during colder months, but analysts said the drop in demand that started earlier this year is now greater than what was expected.

“The spring and summer leasing season was a total bust,” said Jay Lybik, national director of multifamily research at CoStar.

Yet even with the recent decline in demand, asking rents have remained near record highs. Nationally, asking rents have started to drop only slightly month-to-month, and are still up by 6% or more when viewed annually, according to several data sources. In some hot markets, they are up much more than that. In Charleston, S.C., rent is 14% higher than it was a year ago, according to Apartment List.

To escape record high prices, more people are choosing to live rent free with friends or family, a September UBS survey found. Eighteen percent of U.S. adults surveyed said they had lived rent free with other people during the last six months, up from 11% at the same time one year ago. That was the highest share of adults living rent free with friends and family since UBS began asking the question in 2015.

Other renters are finding roommates or splitting rent with family members. In North Charleston, S.C., 27-year-old bartender Bailey Byrum said her younger sister moved in with her at her two-bedroom rental house. Ms. Byrum said her sister had trouble finding her own place and had recently been living with her parents.

“She has a good job… but places by yourself are like $500 to $600 out of her budget,” Ms. Byrum said.

Some landlords are encountering resistance to steeper rent increases. In downtown Birmingham, Ala., last year, Kim McCann and her husband leased a spacious loft apartment for $2,800, a rent that then already seemed overpriced, Ms. McCann said. This July the landlord texted Ms. McCann to say she would be raising the rent by an extra $900 a month because local real-estate demand had “exploded.”

Rather than pay $3,700 for the same apartment, Ms. McCann and her husband decided to move out in August. The loft sat on the market until at least this week, according to a listing on Zillow, and the asking price was cut twice.

“Fingers crossed other landlords come to their senses soon,” Ms. McCann said.

Corrections & Amplifications
In 1Q 2022, change in demand was at its highest since 4Q 2021. A graphic in an earlier version of this article incorrectly said the quarter’s change in demand was at its highest since 2001. (Corrected on Oct. 25)


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Should AI Have Access to Your Medical Records? What if It Can Save Many Lives?

We asked readers: Is it worth giving up some potential privacy if the public benefit could be great? Here’s what they said.

Tue, May 28, 2024 4 min

We’re constantly told that one of the potentially biggest benefits of artificial intelligence is in the area of health. By collecting large amounts of data, AI can create all sorts of drugs for diseases that have been resistant to treatment.

But the price of that could be that we have to share more of our medical information. After all, researchers can’t collect large amounts of data if people aren’t willing to part with that data.

We wanted to see where our readers stand on the balance of privacy versus public-health gains as part of our series on ethical dilemmas created by the advent of AI.

Here are the questions we posed…

AI may be able to discover new medical treatments if it can scan large volumes of health records. Should our personal health records be made available for this purpose, if it has the potential to improve or save millions of lives? How would we guard privacy in that case?

…and some of the answers we received. undefined

Rely on nonpartisan overseers

While my own recent experience with a data breach highlights the importance of robust data security, I recognise the potential for AI to revolutionise healthcare. To ensure privacy, I would be more comfortable if an independent, nonpartisan body—overseen by medical professionals, data-security experts, and citizen representatives—managed a secure database.

Anonymity cuts both ways

Yes. Simply sanitise the health records of any identifying information, which is quite doable. Although there is an argument to be made that AI may discover something that an individual needs or wants to know.

Executive-level oversight

I think we can make AI scanning of health records available with strict privacy controls. Create an AI-CEO position at medical facilities with extreme vetting of that individual before hiring them.

Well worth it

This actually sounds like a very GOOD use of AI. There are several methods for anonymising data which would allow for studies over massive cross-sections of the population without compromising individuals’ privacy. The AI would just be doing the same things meta-studies do now, only faster and maybe better.

Human touch

My concern is that the next generations of doctors will rely more heavily, maybe exclusively, on AI and lose the ability or even the desire to respect the art of medicine which demands one-on-one interaction with a patient for discussion and examination (already a dying skill).


People should be able to sign over rights to their complete “anonymised” health record upon death just as they can sign over rights to their organs. Waiting for death for such access does temporarily slow down the pace of such research, but ultimately will make the research better. Data sets will be more complete, too. Before signing over such rights, however, a person would have to be fully informed on how their relatives’ privacy may also be affected.

Pay me or make it free for all

As long as this is open-source and free, they can use my records. I have a problem with people using my data to make a profit without compensation.

Privacy above all

As a free society, we value freedoms and privacy, often over greater utilitarian benefits that could come. AI does not get any greater right to infringe on that liberty than anything else does.

Opt-in only

You should be able to opt in and choose a plan that protects your privacy.

Privacy doesn’t exist anyway

If it is decided to extend human lives indefinitely, then by all means, scan all health records. As for privacy, there is no such thing. All databases, once established, will eventually, if not immediately, be accessed or hacked by both the good and bad guys.

The data’s already out there

I think it should be made available. We already sign our rights for information over to large insurance companies. Making health records in the aggregate available for helping AI spot potential ways to improve medical care makes sense to me.

Overarching benefit

Of course they should be made available. Privacy is no serious concern when the benefits are so huge for so many.

Compensation for breakthroughs

We should be given the choice to release our records and compensated if our particular genome creates a pathway to treatment and medications.

Too risky

I like the idea of improving healthcare by accessing health records. However, as great as that potential is, the risks outweigh it. Access to the information would not be controlled. Too many would see personal opportunity in it for personal gain.

Nothing personal

The personal info should never be available to anyone who is not specifically authorised by the patient to have it. Medical information can be used to deny people employment or licenses!

No guarantee, but go ahead

This should be allowed on an anonymous basis, without question. But how to provide that anonymity?

Anonymously isolating the information is probably easy, but that information probably contains enough information to identify you if someone had access to the data and was strongly motivated. So the answer lies in restricting access to the raw data to trusted individuals.

Take my records, please

As a person with multiple medical conditions taking 28 medications a day, I highly endorse the use of my records. It is an area where I have found AI particularly valuable. With no medical educational background, I find it very helpful when AI describes in layman’s terms both my conditions and medications. In one instance, while interpreting a CT scan, AI noted a growth on my kidney that looked suspiciously like cancer and had not been disclosed to me by any of the four doctors examining the chart.


This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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