We were told that renting became more popular during the boom as people became “priced out of the market”. Then we were told renting became more popular as hesitant buyers remained on the sidelines. More recently, the story has been that as lending has become tighter, more people have become renters.
While there is undoubtedly truth to all of those claims, it is interesting that despite the wild changes in home sales, for the past dozen years, renting properties via the MLS has become more popular at a steady rate.
Here’s the percentages of rentals vs. total transactions during the month of December. Bear in mind that most properties are rented via management companies and not on the MLS. While some properties are sold without a realtor, this understates the percentage properties rented during the month.
Whatever the reason, rentals have grown steadily more popular over the past dozen years. Recent government policies and advertising on the part of the NAR have not increased the popularity of homeownership. I suspect that this may be more a reflection of the difficulty in purchasing rather than a wariness on the part of buyers.