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Here’s why Americans Preferred Home Renting Over Buying 10 Years Back

Affluent Americans Chose ‘Lifestyle’ Renting Over Buying in the 2010s

Renting home
The 2010s saw the largest increase in the percentage of home renting in USA. (Representational Image). Pixabay

By Dora Mekouar

After living in a Washington, D.C., suburb for 20 years, Patrick Harrington had had enough. Fed up with the 25-mile commute to work, the Virginia man, along with his wife, Francine, sold their home and moved into a rental located about a 15-minute walk from Patrick’s work.

“I went from an hour-and-a-half drive every morning to a 15-minute walk,” Patrick says. “We’ve definitely undergone a lifestyle change. No doubt about it.”

The Harringtons exemplify a key housing trend of the 2010s, a decade that saw renting emerge as a choice. The days of people being forced to rent until they can afford to buy appear to be over for many. An increasing number of more affluent Americans are opting to rent as a way of life.

“Renting became a lifestyle option this past decade,” Michaela Buzec, a research analyst for RENTCafe told VOA via email. “It offers flexibility and freedom to move around and change neighborhoods or cities. It’s also a matter of affordability, since home prices in big, desirable cities increased significantly. This trend is scattered throughout the country, but it’s most evident in the expensive markets.”

Patrick and Francine Harrington in front of their Washington-area rental home. VOA

That’s certainly true for the Harringtons, empty nesters who moved to a trendy, historic, more urban location that also happens to feature some of the Washington area’s highest home prices.

“[The rent] is way more than my mortgage, actually probably 50% more than my mortgage,” says Francine, who considers herself more financially practical than her husband. “So, you know, I was debating [the move], although our transportation [costs] have been cut — tolls, gas, wear-and-tear on our cars.”

The 2010s saw the largest increase in the percentage of renters since the 1960s, according to RENTCafe, an internet service that lists rental properties. More than 100 million Americans live in rental units. Since 2010, the number of renters increased twice as fast as the number of homeowners. There are 74% more people renting today than in 1960.

“Advantage-wise, it’s incredibly convenient,” Francine says of the rental home they’ve been in for almost a year. “Walking distance to Patrick’s job and to stores and entertainment places, restaurants and stuff. So it’s very convenient. I ride my bike a lot more. Patrick walks a lot more.”

“We want to take more and more advantage of it now that we’re empty nesters,” Patrick adds, “so, yeah, definitely lifestyle is definitely part of the equation, but for me it was 99% work related.”

The number of renters increased “across the board,” among the young and the old, in urban areas as well as the suburbs. RENTCafe, which studied data from the past decade, found reasons for the increase include high student loans and home prices, and the need to be flexible in a changing, growing job market.

number-of-renters home
Here’s a graph showing the number of home renters in USA. VOA

Twenty cities went from a homeowner majority to a renter majority in the past 10 years, including places like Detroit, Michigan; Dayton and Toledo, Ohio; Stockton, California, and Memphis, Tennessee. Today, the cities with the largest share of renters are in the American Northeast.

“Perhaps the most surprising aspect is to see cohorts traditionally oriented towards homeownership give up this status and willingly start renting,” Buzec says. “These include seniors and high-earning Americans, who see renting as the better option for their situations. This fact supports the most prominent trend of the decade, that of renting as a choice, more than simply a solution.”

For the Harringtons, renting means they didn’t sweat it when a major appliance broke down or when heavy rains flooded the basement. As renters, they stood by while the owner took care of both problems. In addition, both appreciate living without all of the junk they’d accumulated in their old house.

But how long they’ll continue to rent remains an open question.

“Well, we have two schools of thought here,” Patrick says. “I could see ourselves renting for a good longer period than Francine does.”

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Whether the “renter-by-choice” trend will continue into the 2020s remains to be seen. Looking ahead to the next decade, Francine isn’t sure what the best option will be for her and her husband.

“I don’t know if I would buy,” she says. “I’m kind of, right now, on the bubble. Maybe I would just look for a slightly cheaper place to rent, because I don’t know how long Patrick’s job will be…I’m really on the fence on it.” (VOA)

Next Story

Interior Designing: A Guide for Perfect Interior Decoration and Improvement

Designing your interior is a one-time thing, and it is a fruitful investment

Interior Design
The right choice of wall colours, flooring, placement of furniture and decorations is interior design. Pixabay

An Introduction To Interior Design

Design is a lifestyle. Man lived within and surrounded by design- the design of life, the design of nature, the map of the city, the building and well, the interiors. Today, we are here to talk about interior design and its various aspects. Simple or magnificent design is design. The right choice of wall colours, flooring, placement of furniture and decorations is interior design. Although it is more than creativity or innovation, interior design has a scientific ring to it. Hence, the whole concept is the science and art of regulating and executing the architectural interiors and their furnishings. 

As we have talked to the latest Interior designers in Bangalore according to them an interior designer is a professional in this field who has the right qualifications and is licensed to practice interior designing. As a professional interior designer one will analyze the programmatic data, ascertain a theoretical direction, filter and polish the design objective and present graphic communications and construction credentials. 

Interior designers usually supervise the projects from top to the end and serve the following functions:

  • Develop the concept and theme with the client.
  • You are sketching out plans and sourcing vendors and materials.
  • You are synchronizing the requirements with builders and architects.
  • They are directing the placement and arrangement of furnishings and décor items. 
  • We are evaluating the result with clients to ensure contentment. 

Principles Of Interior Designing 

It might not have been conscious, but the concept of interior designing has existed since human habitation. With time, styles and trends have evolved and gone back and forth, but there are certain principles still conformed to by professional interior designers.    

1. Focal Point: This refers to a room having a chief centre of visual interest that would attract significant attention. All the other elements can be arranged concerning the main feature, which could be a big window or fireplace or maybe a bookcase. A focal point can also be created by grouping several pictures on the wall or hanging lights. This principle gives the room a personality. 

2. Unity: All the rooms in the house may sport its personality, but at the end of the day, it should look like it belongs to the house as one single unit. This can be achieved by perhaps having a common feature like similar flooring, identical window treatments, etc. or theme.

Wall, Furniture, Design, Apartment, Room
As a professional interior designer one will analyze the programmatic data, ascertain a theoretical direction, filter and polish the design objective and present graphic communications and construction credentials. Pixabay

3. Colour: Colour is known to affect human beings psychologically and physically; it sets a mood. The colour in a room gives it an identity. Colour used in the place can light it up or cool it down, unify spaces, outline focal points, enhance the room’s proportions and much more. The shade depends upon the lighting in the room, its purpose, the theme and the size of the room. 

4. Balance: balance refers to the equivalent allocation of visual weight in a given space. Balance namely has three styles- Radial, Symmetrical and Asymmetrical. In a radial, balanced room, all the design items are set out around a core point. Symmetrical balance is an old school and traditional style wherein the identical objects are placed in the same position on either side of the vertical axis. Asymmetrical style is in the trend now as it showcases the arrangement of different items that have the same visual weight or attraction. It is a more casual approach. 

5. Rhythm: just like in music, interior designing rhythm refers to the repeated use of visual patterns to show continuity and organized movement. To achieve this, a professional interior designer will think of four dynamics- contrast, repetition, transition and progression. The difference makes the items stand out by the opposition. Repetition can be the recurrence of a particular colour, line, pattern or texture. Transition refers to the smooth flow in concept which guides the yes gently from one object to the other in the room. Lastly, progression refers to increasing or decreasing one or more equalities of an element to make it fit in. 

6. Details: paying heed to details enhances the overall feeling of a room, thus making it look more complete and chic.

7. Scale And Proportion: Scale and proportion go hand in hand as it is an indication towards shapes and size. It concerns the ratio of one design element with another or the whole or the size of one item in comparison to the other. 

ALSO READ: Higher Fruits and Vegetables Intake Beneficial for Women: Health Researchers


Designing your interior is a one-time thing, and it is a fruitful investment. The main motive of the practice is to use the space available effectively in addition to making it visually more appealing. A professional in this field not only has skills but also contacts that can avail you discounts. They will know what is best for your abode or office while keeping in mind how you have visualized it to be.