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MichaelMeckler.com: Blog: A generation of renters?

A generation of renters?

27 AUGUST 2015

I've read some recent news stories about the decline in the ownership of single-family homes in the U.S. Although some have speculated that the so-called millennial generation have a preference for living in more densely packed, urban environments, most housing observers believe the real reason for the dropoff in home ownership is economic.

An acquaintance of mine recently kidded me on the fact that I own a single-family home, pointing out that this marked a generational divide between me and today's college and graduate students, many of whom, he posited, won't be able to buy a home until their 40s or 50s, if ever.

The comment was part of a humorous jab at my increasing senectitude, but it did get me thinking about whether we're witnessing a shift back to the pre-World War II norm, when more than half of Americans rented the place where they lived, and population densities were more starkly delineated between urban and rural.

Despite the dramatic fall in home ownership over the past decade, more than 60 percent of U.S. households still live in homes they own. And while we talk about how advances in technology would make much of our daily lives unrecognizable to our great-grandparents, unless economic prospects improve for today's students, one major aspect of their lives — housing — might make the early 21st century not so unfamiliar to those who lived in the early 20th.



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