In a world where millennials and older Americans increasingly live in sprawling condos and luxury apartment complexes, where a large majority of millennials now live in single-family neighborhoods and where housing costs have increased at an alarming rate, a new study finds that families that live in a multi-family home or apartment complex will spend a larger portion of their income on rent than their counterparts in single houses or apartments.
The research, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Brookings Institution, suggests that the number of families living in a large home or condo complex could drop from 50 percent in 2020 to just 13 percent in 2027.
The analysis of census data, which was released on Wednesday, shows that the median annual household income of single households in 2029 is $56,900, compared to $75,200 for families in multi-unit buildings.
That is a decline of nearly $20,000 in median income for families that lived in a condo or larger unit, the researchers found.
According to the report, which is based on the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS), in 2028, the median household income in single homes is $50,200, compared with $80,300 for families living there.
In contrast, families living inside a multi, such as in a family owned condo or apartment, have an annual median household net worth of $76,200.
That means their net worth is almost three times larger than the median net worth for single families.
In terms of net worth, the report said, single families that are living in larger homes and apartment complexes are nearly $2,400 more likely to have an income than single families in smaller units, as well.
In 2029, the study found, single households that lived within 10 miles of a large apartment complex had an annual net worth greater than that of those who lived on the street.
For example, the average net worth in a 1,000-square-foot apartment complex was $1.5 million, while the average for single-unit units was $800,000.
The authors of the report found that families living near the median income in a single-house or apartment structure had an average net wealth of $2.2 million in 2026.
In addition, they found that the average annual household net wealth in single units was nearly $8,000 higher than the average household networth for single households.
The report was authored by Matthew Green, a professor at the Brookings Institute, and David Burt, an associate professor at Brookings and the author of a book on the impact of housing affordability.
Green and Burt analyzed census data on median income and family net worth and concluded that the percentage of income spent on rent will drop from 70 percent in 2019 to about 35 percent in 2024.
The authors said this could be due to two factors: declining rental rates and the housing market’s increased supply.
In 2019, the national median rent for an apartment was $2 million, according to the Census, which has since dropped to $2 in 2020 and $1 in 2021.
Rent in multiples, such like condos, dropped from $2 to $1,700 in 2020, but stayed the same at $1 for the rest of the decade.
In 2024, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the national average rent for a two-bedroom apartment was still $1 million.
This year, the BLS reported that rents in all major cities rose from $1 per month in 2019, to $3 per month.
Rental prices are rising faster than rents in most cities and suburbs, making it difficult for renters to save for a down payment, according a 2016 report by the National Association of Realtors.
For example, median home prices in Miami are up more than 20 percent in just three years, according the Real Estate Board of Miami.