Renters' Guide: Conclusion
One of the largest shifts in the housing market since the Great Recession has been the growth of the single-family rental market, which is developing faster than any other segment of the market. It’s outpacing both single-family home purchases and apartment-style living, according to the Washington, D.C.-based think tank Urban Institute. While the number of households in the U.S. continues to increase, nearly all the housing demand in recent years has been filled by rental units.
Changing demographics and housing market conditions will likely continue driving rental growth in the coming years. Young people are waiting longer to get married and start families. At the same time, student loan debt, lower earnings and tight lending practices have created barriers to homeownership. And the huge Baby Boomer generation is pouring into the retirement-relocation-downsizing years. Meanwhile, some people simply prefer renting over buying because it offers more flexibility, less maintenance and less commitment (financial and otherwise). All these factors can make renting more practical (and attractive) – for retirees, college students, singles, young couples, small families and others.
While some renters will continue renting happily for years, you may think about trading rent for mortgage payments at some point. Keep in mind: The decision to rent or buy shouldn’t be based on finances alone. Renting, for example, offers greater flexibility, amenities you probably couldn’t afford in a home (e.g., a swimming pool), and a landlord who handles the repairs and maintenance. Homeownership, on the other hand, offers greater stability, the option to customize your home and greater privacy. And, of course, a chance to build equity. It’s important to think about all these factors before making any decisions.