The economic situation of the country, the emigration, the devaluation of the properties and the passage of the hurricanes Irma and María by the Island, have been some of the triggers that have triggered the lease of housing, with 26% of the population in the rental market, which is equivalent to 830,739 people.
The data comes from a demographic study conducted by the firm Gaither International during 2018, which places the municipalities of Arecibo and San Juan as the first two where more people live in rent. Arecibo owns 39% of people in rented housing and San Juan follows with 33%. In 32% of cases, these are households whose family nucleus is made up of four people. In 47% of the cases that live in rent are people between the ages of 18 to 34 years, most of them dependent on some help from the government.
According to the study, most of those who rent are consumers who spend less on eating out of the home weekly, to which they allocate an average of $ 21.50 versus the $ 27.68 spent by the general population. 71% are participants of the Nutritional Assistance Program (PAN). 11% are participants in the WIC Program, and 76% are beneficiaries of government health insurance, Salud Vital.
Also, 13% is a participant in the housing subsidy Plan 8. However, although a high percentage has some government assistance, 88% of this segment of the population that they rent has traveled in the past 12 months.
The profile of the tenant, according to the study, 42% are working, 73% have a car, 85% have a personal telephone, 78% have a washing machine and 9% have a dryer. Likewise, 83% have their children in the public education system.
However, for Rosita Alicea, president of the Association of Landlords of Puerto Rico, the rental pattern is not limited to the low and poor middle class of the country, but there is also a luxury income niche, which responds to properties that They have reduced their value and their owners have chosen to lease them to be able to maintain them. These are rents over $ 1,500 per month, and among the preferred sectors are Miramar, Condado and Isla Verde.
The high-cost rental segment has been occupied after hurricane Maria by the companies and entities that have come for reconstruction work and which it is estimated could extend their stay for another six months.
Alicea also identified the niche of the "millennials", a segment that does not see the purchase of a residence as a priority, but rent. "The new professionals prefer to rent a time. They move by impulse, they tend to be more assertive. If you like where you are, you can consider the purchase, but there is no attachment to cement as it happened in previous generations, where since you graduated the mentality was to work to acquire your car and your home, "he explained.
In the segment of low-income people, Alicea commented that after Maria the lease skyrocketed due to the destruction of many of their homes.
On the other hand, he identified people who had high incomes and have lost their jobs, or their businesses and have needed to look for a lower monthly payment in housing. Added to this are the cases of people whose properties have lost value, with residences costing over $ 500,000 and now pricing at $ 300,000. "These are cases where their mortgages are worth more than their homes and they choose to deliver them. That person can not buy another property now for an average of two to three years, so he has to live rented. Likewise, there is another group of people who choose to leave the island in search of work, after having lost it in Puerto Rico, but can not pay two mortgages, and stop paying the local ", he explained.
For Alicea, the dependence on federal aid is very worrisome, because they were increased by the hurricane and once the situation stabilizes, the pocket will be tightened for many people who will not be able to afford all of their rents.
He reported that buildings of rent units of Section 8 are currently proliferating, completing the inventory of some 30,000 units and there are long waiting lists of people to approve them for housing.
Low on the purchase
The strong emigration registered by the country has been a great trigger in the housing sector's fall. While for the 70s there was a demand for properties of some 23,535 units, today this figure has been reduced to 3,500 units, according to data from the Housing Study conducted by the firm Estudios Técnicos.
If the downward trend of the past decade is compared, between 2000 and 2010, the demand for homes reached 11,521 units.