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The Hot New Housing Trend: Renting? Owning? Opinions Vary

April 25, 2021

Add conclusions about the housing market to the list of differences between The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.

Millennials, concluded The Post earlier this year, favor renting over home ownership. The Journal, just 3 months later, came to the opposite conclusion. “Owning,” it proclaimed, “is the new renting.”

These assertions, it turns out, do not seem to relate to either newspaper’s purported political leanings. Nor are they necessarily in opposition to each other.

The Post, looking to Washington, DC and other urban areas, identifies millennials and baby boomers as two of the fastest growing groups of renters. Both groups, notes The Post, are enticed by maintenance-free living, the mobility that renting affords, and amenities that include fitness centers, pools, happy hours, and concierge services.

Meanwhile, The Journal reports that home ownership rose in 2017, reversing a 13-year trend. Looking to the same demographic currently occupying all those amenity-laden apartment buildings, The Journal sees millennials entering their 30s, marrying, having children, and, as seems to be the natural order, buying homes.

Business Insider concurs, noting that: “Millennials are buying a lot more homes than you think.” On the flip side, USA Today reports that, as those same millennials start families, yes, they are moving into single-family homes. What they seek, however, are single-family rentals.

Ultimately, interpretation of the data depends on how it’s parsed, weighted, contextualized, and interpreted. And, ultimately, the desire for home ownership is driven by personal preference and not demographics, building trends, or any other calculation.

The one constant amidst all the variables is that—whether millennial, boomer, or anywhere else in life—when it’s time to buy a home, it’s time for 100% representation.

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