Renting Instead of Buying: The New American Way?

Rent Instead of Own HomeRent Instead of Own

A recent Wall Street Journal article takes a look at the growing number of people who rent instead of own – everything from homes to cars to clothes. Daniel Gross writes, “In the American mind, renting has long symbolized striving—striving, that is, well short of achieving. But as we climb our way out of the Great Recession, it seems something has changed. Americans are getting over the idea of owning the American dream; increasingly, they’re OK with renting it.”

Minnesota Association of REALTORS® CEO Chris Galler says this article brings up some interesting thoughts about how American consumers view owning versus renting on a wide range of items – but especially real estate.

“It is an interesting read and brings up considerations that we should all be thinking about.  That does not mean I agree with the full premise, only that it points out a significant trend away from owning things – and being responsible for their upkeep and maintenance – to renting things.  I think second homes are already going through this transformation as families with children struggle with managing work, recreation, home/yard maintence and children’s organizied activities.  Week-long vacations are becoming more rare – because of both cost and time – instead long weekends are becoming more the norm.  Owners of these properties will be seen more as the rich and elite versus the neighbors who own a place Up North.”

The article does not touch on the changing family structure, increase in single person households or the shift to marrying late and having fewer, if any,children.  With the vast majority of owner-occupied homes inhabited by families who used dual-incomes to purchase that home, there is a marketplace pricing structure that does not account for the changing family structure or income situation.  In clearer terms – a single person or even a couple without children does not need a 4 bedroom, 2-story home with 3 car garage – nor can they afford it.

What do you think?

The Minnesota Association of REALTORS® is the largest professional trade association in the state with more than 19,000 members who are active in all aspects of the real estate industry.


3 thoughts on “Renting Instead of Buying: The New American Way?

  1. Liked the premise, However,it doesnt follow good investment training that our fore fathers taught . We as a society are increasingly becoming more ‘Flash ‘than ‘Cash’ however, we see the guy with the Jaguar and think nice car! but does he lease that? The modest car doesnt get that ? even though it also may be leased.And so it seems in the housing market. I think it bodes well for those who invest in rental houses,though!And
    for those of us who sell them.~ Kim Weber Broker @ Apple Realty

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