According to a report from American credit bureau TransUnion, U.S. renters, as a group, are getting older, but they also have better credit scores and greater access to debt than previously. The study analyzed the credit behavior of 631,000 renters who moved during the second quarter of 2015 over the 12 months following their moves with a similar group who moved during the second quarter of 2009. Here are a few of the findings:

Renters have better credit scores. TransUnion found that 38.6 percent of the 2015 renters had a prime or better credit score (660 or above), compared with 26.2 percent of the 2009 cohort.


The renting population is aging. Renters have generally become older since 2009, with the most significant changes observed for the youngest and oldest consumer groups. In 2009, 22.6 percent of renters were younger than 25; by 2015, the youngest age group had declined to just 20.3 percent of all renters. This, perhaps, is indicative of the youngest cohort living with parents or other family members and may represent an untapped market for cheaper rentals.

Renters are less worried about taking on debt. Between 2009 and 2016, the percentage of renters who opened a new credit card in the 12 months after move-in more than doubled. The study found that 28.7 percent of the 2015 renter cohort opened a new credit card by mid-2016, while only 12.4 percent of the 2009 cohort had a new credit card account by midyear 2010. Auto loan originations also rose for renters by midyear 2016, with 17.2 percent opening an auto loan within 12 months after move-in, compared with 9 percent of 2009 renters.

“Comparing renters from the immediate post-recession period to renters of today highlighted an interesting dynamic,” said Ezra Becker, senior vice president of research and consulting for TransUnion. “Today’s renters are generally lower risk and more credit active in the 12 months following their move, taking on more auto loans and credit cards than previous renter cohorts.”

“Following the recession, younger consumers may have been underemployed or [they] chose to live at home with their parents. Older consumers may have opted to stay in a rental unit instead of purchasing a home,” said Mike Doherty, senior vice president of TransUnion’s rental screening solutions group. “The good news for property managers is that renters of all ages are managing their credit obligations well. Property managers can help renters build or improve their credit scores by reporting rental payments to the credit bureaus, giving renters the credit they deserve for on-time payments.”