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Well-To-Do Americans Prefer Renting Than Buying

Business and technology hubs like San Francisco and Seattle have the highest numbers of wealthy renters.

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Nationwide, more than 1.35 million households making at least $150,000 per year became renters between 2007 and 2017. Pixabay

Although they can afford to purchase a home, more well-to-do Americans are choosing to rent instead.

The number of U.S. households earning at least $150,000 annually that chose to rent rather than buy skyrocketed 175 percent between 2007 and 2017, according to an analysis by apartment search website RentCafe, which used data from the Census Bureau to reach its conclusions.

This new breed of renters challenges long-held assumptions that Americans rent a place to live primarily because they can’t afford to buy a home.

“Lifestyle plays an important part in their decision to rent,” study author Alexandra Ciuntu told VOA via email. “Renting in multiple cities at once has its perks, and so does changing one trendy location after another.”

FILE — A new apartment building on Mission Street in San Francisco, one of 20 U.S. cities with the most significant increase in the number of wealthy renters.
A new apartment building on Mission Street in San Francisco, one of 20 U.S. cities with the most significant increase in the number of wealthy renters. VOA

Business and technology hubs like San Francisco and Seattle have the highest numbers of wealthy renters.

“Given the escalating house prices, it seems like a verifiable better decision to go with renting for longer,” Ciuntu said. “Given that in San Francisco, for example, $200,000 buys you just 260 square feet, it’s understandable why top-earners give renting a serious try before deciding whether to invest in a property or not.”

In fact, in both San Francisco and New York, wealthy renters outnumber well-to-do buyers. There are more high-earning renters — 250,000 — in New York City that anywhere else in the country.

FILE — Penthouse view in New York City, where wealthy renter-occupied households have doubled in the last decade. (Photo by Flickr user Carlos Pacheco via Creative Commons)
Penthouse view in New York City, where wealthy renter-occupied households have doubled in the last decade. (Photo by Flickr user Carlos Pacheco via Creative Commons. VOA

“Ten years ago we would have associated real estate equity with life stability, whereas the two are not necessarily interrelated nowadays,” Ciuntu said. “Renting proves to be a more flexible option for those enjoying a dynamic and rich lifestyle. From a more millennial standpoint, this is no longer a brief solution before settling down, but rather an attractive world of possibilities.”

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However, this rental enthusiasm doesn’t mean folks in the wealthiest brackets are rejecting homeownership, according to Ciuntu. Between 2007 and 2017, Chicago added 9,800 more wealthy owners than high-income renters, Seattle gained 13,400, and Denver added almost 18,000 more well-to do earners than wealthy renters. (VOA)

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Will Smith Feels “Emotional” about Homelessness in New York

'Emotional' Will Smith Campaigns Against Homelessness in New York

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Hollywood Actor Will Smith will be campaigning against homelessness in New York. Wikimedia Commons

Will Smith still feels “emotional” about homelessness years after playing a destitute man in one of his most acclaimed film roles, the Hollywood star has told charity campaigners braving a fierce New York winter night to sleep rough.

Hundreds of people had gathered in Times Square on Saturday, rugged up and ready to bunk down in freezing temperatures, in a campaign to raise funds for what organizers said was record homelessness globally.

Smith told the crowd that his Oscar-nominated role in “The Pursuit of Happyness” — a 2007 biopic of a salesman forced to live on the streets of San Francisco with his young son — was a “life-changing experience” that had allowed him to understand the misery of poverty.

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Will Smith arrives at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards in Los Angeles, March 23, 2019. VOA

“It makes me emotional thinking about it right now,” Smith said. “To not have a place to go and to be able to lay your head down with your children at night is a horrendous tragedy.”

Smith also charmed crowds with a “bedtime story” — a rap rendition of the theme tune to his 1990s hit sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”

People in over 50 cities around the world slept on the streets to support the World’s Big Sleep Out campaign, the charity said in a Saturday statement, adding that funds from the New York event would be donated to the UN Children’s Fund.

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“In New York City alone, more people are now homeless than at any time since the Great Depression,” the statement said.

“Over 62,000 people in New York, including 22,000 kids, will sleep in shelters tonight and the number of homeless people and refugees in cities around the world continues to hit record highs with each passing year.” (VOA)