In an op-ed piece in today's Wall Street Journal, Rutgers economist Eugene N. White argues that "the poor are better off renting."
While he's certainly right that homeownership is not always the best option for everyone at every stage of life, some of his arguments are misguided:
While suffering through the Great Depression, my grandparents never faced the challenge of making a fixed mortgage payment. Instead, they rented and moved every year. Their circumstances dictated whether it would be a move to a larger or smaller apartment. But mostly, in that era of deflation that lowered wages and prices, they were driven by the need to move because it was not easy to bargain for lower rent from their current landlord ... As renters, they were able to adjust more easily to economic decline and even save some money for education and retirement.