Today, more Americans are renting than are buying. This holds true across all generations and income levels, although the reasons for why families are renting instead of buying differ. Many do still want to own a home at some point, but because of the ratio of home prices to income levels and the ease that comes with renting, more and more are putting off this large purchase. In fact, 37 percent of households are now renters, which is the largest percentage of renters the market has seen since the 1960s.
A study conducted at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University shows that more people may continue to rent for longer periods of time. In the past, many people purchased a home because they were told renting put them at a disadvantage. Today, renters are wondering if this is actually true.
Financial planner, Milo M. Benningfield, believes the argument of buying versus renting is a futile one. He does agree that homeownership provides a buyer with equity and stability – a mortgage makes buyers prepare and stick to a financial plan, plus there’s no fear of landlords increasing rent or selling the property. However, buyers do go into major debt and can face defaulting on their mortgage if they lose their job.
But do these risks and benefits outweigh those of renting? Benningfield and others agree that the answer isn’t readily apparent.
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