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Have we reached an "era of rentership"?

By mdblog - June 01, 2012
The rumor around town is that we have reached an “era of rentership,” as many young adults under the age of 35 seem to prefer flexibility to the long-term and stable. If rumors are true, long gone are the days of the nuclear household in the suburbs. According to Realtormag, Dr. Glenn Crellin, a professor at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington, this trend is merely a misrepresentation of today’s economic trends. Crellin asserts that the generation born between 1980-2000, otherwise known as the “Millennials,” are misrepresented with a mindset that homeownership is as risky and tumultuous as our housing market. Crellin acknowledges that in comparison to older generations, home ownership in the under-35 population has declined more sharply since the housing bubble burst.  He also notes that home ownership in this particular generation rates below 40 percent in 2011, compared to the national rate of 65 percent. With all this in mind, Crellin still believes that the media has drawn a “wrong conclusion from that data.” Factors such as a tough job market, student loans, and credit card debt certainly do play a part in the decreasing number of first time homebuyers. Yet, these factors do not reflect the mindset of this age group. Homeownership has become more difficult to obtain in comparison to previous generations. But this important moment in an American’s life may instead be viewed as “delayed” rather than obsolete. According to a recent survey by TD Bank, buying a first home is still very much a goal for the younger generation. In this survey, it states that 85% of US consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 have the intention of becoming homeowners someday. Meanwhile, condos and townhomes are expected to grow “15 to 20 percent between now and 2030.” The trend of which residential category will become more lucrative is still to be determined, as this generation may value the urban lifestyle more so than the traditional, suburban living that older generations value.

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