More and more Americans are forgoing the housing market and becoming perma-renters. Here's why.
More and more Americans are forgoing the housing market and becoming perma-renters. Here's why.
More and more Americans are forgoing the housing market and becoming perma-renters. Here’s why.

According the National Association of Realtors, 5 to 6 million families will become new renting households in the next 10 years.

It’s just one more piece of evidence that shows renting is on the rise — and the trend away from home ownership is here to stay.

But why? We explore some of the obvious — and not so obvious — reasons why Americans are choosing to forgo the housing market and become perma-renters.

Renting is the new buying
For many Americans, it seems that renting really is the new buying. In a post-recession economy, one might expect that renting has become popular because more people simply cannot obtain mortgages.

According to at least one real estate survey, that’s not necessarily true. Less than one third of renters cited an inability to get a mortgage as a reason to continue renting. 43 percent of renters said that they just don’t want to own homes. Another 39 percent reported that they plan to continue renting because they enjoy it.

For these Americans, a renting preference is likely driven by the flexibility and amenities that renting offers. It’s easier to move when you want, convenient to have a landlord who takes care of repairs, and nice to be able to afford living in the neighborhood you prefer.

For many renters in cities where the cost of living is high, renting allows them the option of choosing neighborhoods where they couldn’t afford to buy. Renting can be a realistic, reasonable long-term choice that allows for an enviable lifestyle.

Personal reasons to rent
There are also personal and philosophical reasons why it’s better to rent rather than buy a home. Freedom and flexibility are often cited by younger renters as reasons why they prefer a lease over a mortgage. While the idea of putting down roots and building a family nest through home ownership appeals to some, others see home ownership as a trap, a limiting life choice that locks them into a 30-year mortgage agreement and keeps them from moving around and exploring life.

For some, renting also means having more time to yourself. Have a broken dishwasher? Just call the apartment community maintenance department, and they’ll be up to fix it in a few hours — with no time or money spent on the renter’s behalf. Home maintenance is time-consuming and stressful, and renters enjoy knowing that the stress of tending to home maintenance doesn’t fall directly on them.

For these reasons and more, renting is becoming a very appealing lifestyle. The idea of home ownership as a rite of passage and a symbol that one has become an adult no longer holds true for everyone. While there are still many positive aspects to home ownership,  there are just as many reasons to rent, instead!

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Maridav

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About The Author

Steve Harper enjoys seeking out and writing about topics that matter to renters for the Apartment Guide Blog. He hails from Atlanta, Georgia. Find Steve on Google.

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