Has America found a new dream? Americans of the 1950s envisioned a white-picket fence, 2.5 kids, a dog and a home of their own, but housing market news has changed all that. Today, renting appears to be a much more viable option for many residents of the land of the free and the home of the brave to pursue their dreams of success.
According to a new report from the MacArthur Foundation, although many Americans still want to own their own property someday, they are skeptical of becoming homeowners. In fact, 57 percent of adults believe that buying a home has become less appealing in recent years, while a majority are also of the opinion that renting has become more appealing than before. Perhaps they’re wary of making such a large decision, or just really hate shoveling their own sidewalks–or maybe it’s something more.
There’s no denying that there’s been a definitive shift toward renting over buying in recent years, and the real estate bubble bursting in 2008 may not be the only reason. Changes in lifestyle and the perception of the rewards of owning a home are simply not what they used to be.
According to the report, a large majority of U.S. adults–nearly 70 percent–believe it is much less likely that families will be able to build equity and wealth through home ownership compared to just 20 or 30 years ago.
But what’s even more telling is that three out of five adults said they think renters can be just as successful as homeowners at achieving the American Dream. According to the report, both renters and current homeowners expressed these feelings.
So what gives? Have Americans permanently gravitated away from the American Dreams of their parents, no longer wishing to move to the suburbs and becoming homeowners? It may still be too early to say. But what is clear is that Americans’ attitudes toward what it means to be a renter have noticeably shifted.
For some, renting is no longer just a temporary living situation–it’s a way of life. Rental trends, such as the building of luxury apartment high rises and diminishing rental vacancy rates, indicate that many adults actually prefer renting an apartment over becoming a homeowner.
Many Americans still don’t believe the housing crisis is over, and nearly 20 percent think the worst is yet to come, according to the report. Rather than risking their savings and plunging back into the housing market, Americans with dreams of success are opting for a different path–as renters.