Rent, Don't Own, Say 76% of Consumers

The housing market has had a tough time these past few years (to put it mildly.) With home values dropping, foreclosures skyrocketing and people losing their jobs, owning a home is not only stressful because of the lack of return on the investment, but also trying to keep up with the payments has become a homeowner's nightmare

A new online survey shows an increase in consumers that think renting is better than owning right now. The National Apartment Association (NAA) commissioned an online study that found 76% thought renting was better, a five percent increase over 2008 responses.

As RentedSpaces recently reported, the renter lifestyle is clearly becoming more popular. And what this study supports is that this change might be around for a while.Urban studies theorist Richard Florida notes the change in our way of living due to the economic fallout. Writing in The Atlantic's special report, "The Path to Recovery," he says, "This emerging new way of life will be less oriented around cars, houses and suburbs."

Florida also outlines a shift towards renting.

Another recent RentedSpaces article uncovers the growing popularity of renting: 40% of Americans live in rentals by choice. This National Multi-Housing Councils Report shows a 28% growth since 1999.

"While some may want to declare the housing crisis over, consumer patterns of behavior are showing otherwise," said National Apartment Association president Douglas Culkin. "The findings in this survey mirror what our members are seeing throughout the country, especially in areas of the country that are experiencing the first sings of economic recovery."

The NAA survey, which was conducted with over 2,000 adults in the U.S. in early May by Harris polls, also found that the cost of maintenance of a home is a major reason that renting is a more favorable option to home ownership: 64 percent in 2010 found this to be true, another increase over the 2008 result of 57 percent.

While no one has a crystal ball to say whether renting will continue its popularity among U.S. residents, it's clear that as job security remains tenuous and the housing market is soft, the number of renters more than likely will increase.

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