Recent Mover Renters – American Housing Survey 2009 – Neighborhood Selection

In Part I of this series, we focused on an overview of recent mover renters from the 2009 American Housing Survey and their previous units. In Part II, we focused on why renters left their previous units. In Part III, we examine why renters have chosen their new neighborhood.

Reasons for Choosing Neighborhood

Renters are most likely to select a new neighborhood for its convenience, whether to a job or to friends or relatives, according to the 2009 American Housing Survey conducted by the US Census Bureau for HUD.  Renters who moved in the year prior to March 2009 were asked to indicate their reasons for choosing their new neighborhood. The following table illustrates renters’ reasons for selecting their new neighborhood over the last two decades (renters could select more than one reason for moving):

Reasons For Choosing Neighborhood 1989 1991 1993 1995 1997 1999 2001 2003 2005 2007 2009
Convenient to job 26.1% 25.8% 24.1% 26.4% 27.4% 29.5% 34.1% 29.4% 30.2% 34.5% 31.7%
Convenient to friends or relatives 16.4% 17.3% 18.2% 18.9% 20.1% 20.7% 24.2% 23.9% 22.8% 25.3% 23.4%
Looks/design of neighborhood 16.4% 15.8% 16.9% 15.5% 19.1% 19.7% 20.6% 19.5% 19.7% 16.9% 15.9%
House was most important consideration 21.4% 20.9% 19.5% 20.9% 16.4% 16.1% 15.5% 15.9% 15.5% 14.2% 11.9%
Good schools 6.7% 6.9% 6.3% 7.8% 11.1% 11.0% 12.3% 10.7% 11.3% 11.8% 10.7%
Convenient to leisure activities 4.1% 3.7% 4.0% 4.7% 6.4% 7.4% 9.3% 8.0% 7.4% 8.7% 7.6%
Convenient to public transportation 3.8% 3.4% 3.9% 4.1% 5.1% 5.6% 6.5% 6.2% 5.8% 6.2% 5.9%
Other public services 2.3% 2.1% 2.3% 2.0% 4.1% 4.3% 5.5% 4.4% 4.4% 5.0% 4.2%
Not reported 4.3% 3.7% 3.2% 3.7% 7.7% 11.2% 2.8% 3.4% 2.3% 6.3% 3.8%
Other 34.6% 34.7% 36.3% 34.1% 24.4% 18.9% 21.1% 22.8% 25.3% 19.5% 22.8%

As the table illustrates, convenience to job is the reason named by the highest number of respondents, followed by convenience to friends and relatives.  The historical changes in popularity of the reasons for choosing a neighborhood from the table above are illustrated in the following graph:

The graph illustrates two significant trends. The first is the increased importance of being close to friends and relatives, which has jumped from the number three spot in 1989 to the number 2 spot in 2009.  The other significant historical trend is the continuing drop in the number of renter movers indicating that the house was the most important factor in their move.

Neighborhood Search

Recent mover renters were also asked about their neighborhood search. Slightly over half of the respondents indicated they looked in other neighborhoods than the one they eventually moved into. This is pretty consistent with historical data, as the following table illustrates:

Neighborhood Search 1989 1991 1993 1995 1997 1999 2001 2003 2005 2007 2009
Looked at just this neighborhood 44.1% 43.2% 44.3% 43.4% 47.4% 46.6% 46.6% 49.0% 48.7% 45.4% 46.0%
Looked at other neighborhood(s) 52.1% 53.6% 53.1% 53.4% 50.2% 50.1% 49.7% 47.0% 48.4% 48.9% 50.9%
Not reported 3.8% 3.2% 2.6% 3.2% 2.3% 3.4% 3.6% 4.0% 2.9% 5.7% 3.2%

Next up – a look at reasons for choosing a particular home.

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