Renting: It’s So Hot Right Now

There’s a hot trend in towns across America right now, and everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. Newlyweds are doing it; seniors are doing it; and even Suze Orman thinks it’s a good idea. What could it be? Contra dancing? Hot yoga? Nope…we’re talking about renting a home instead of buying one.

To be fair, it’s not a completely new fad–the days when financial experts encouraged buying a home at all costs (so to speak) are firmly behind us. In the wake of recent tough economic times, renting offers greater freedom–to relocate, upsize, and downsize as necessary–and allows many families to live in areas they could not afford to buy houses in.

So just how persistent is this trend? Are people likely to start buying again any time soon? For more information we turned to an article from The Bottomline on MSNBC.com. Written by John Schoen, the article breaks down numbers that the Commerce Department released on Tuesday.

According to the data, the amount of renters is continuing to increase–there were 749,000 more renters in the fourth quarter of 2011 than at the same time in the previous year.Just 66% of US homes were owner-occupied at the end of 2011, putting home-ownership at its lowest point since 1998.

Should we buy? --Let's rent instead.

It’s likely, says NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe, that newly-formed households will keep choosing to rent until people are convinced that the housing market has hit bottom–and that is likely to take several years. For now, with 22% of mortgaged properties underwater (according to CoreLogic), renting will continue to look very, very attractive.

For even more numbers, check out the MSNBC article, America is Becoming a Nation of Renters.

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