More people are renting their homes in Minnesota. No surprise, right? What you might not expect is that the biggest gains in rental activity are happening in counties outside the metro area.
The Minnesota Housing Partnership said that between 2000 and 2010 the share of rental households in the state increased from 25.4 to 27 percent. The 10 counties with the biggest gains in rental households were all beyond the metro area, as were eight of the 10 counties with the biggest share of households that rent.
There’s no simple explanation for why that’s happened.
“In general the foreclosure crisis has had a lot to do with it,” said Leigh Rosenberg, MHP’s research and outreach director.
Beyond that there’s no common thread. In some counties high foreclosure rates caused displaced homeowners to rent. In counties where the economy tanked, people opted to rent rather than buy, but there were even some counties with healthy economies where low-paying farm jobs brought in workers who couldn’t afford to buy. Mahnomen County, which had the biggest increase in the percentage of renter households, for example, also had the biggest decline in house prices during the past decade.
MHP's website has a list of the counties and more information about the growing number of people who pay more than half their wages for rental housing.