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Opinion | The surge of renters across Shelby County is hitting home | Richard Ransom

Richard Ransom explains why he thinks the surge of renters across Shelby County is hitting home.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The surge in people who rent hits home.

We keep hearing how out-of-state investors are buying up houses faster than families who live here can do so, and new numbers show the effect that's having.

Here are the six Shelby County zip codes where people rent and have grown so fast. 

Renters now make up a majority of people who live in these zip codes:

  • 31828 in Raleigh had by far the biggest increase, up 36% over 10 years. Now, 62% of people who live there rent.
  • Next is Hickory Hill and Southeast Memphis, 38118, up 23%. 
  • Renters in 38111 in East Memphis are up 17%. It's almost the same in 38116, then 38107 in North Memphis, and finally the Berclair area in 38122.

By the way, 38103 downtown had the second-largest increase in the past decade, but so far the renter population is below 50%.

There's nothing wrong with renting. I'm renting now myself. Studies show the neighborhoods that thrive are those which have a good mix of homeowners and renters because when homeowners are literally invested in their neighborhood's success, crime rates go down and school performance scores go up. It's why programs such as Habitat for Humanity are so important.

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