With millennials facing an unemployment rate of more than 8 percent and $1 trillion in student loan debt, they’re increasingly renting instead of buying homes. In fact, the true homeownership rate for 18–34 year olds has fallen to a new low: 13.2 percent. But finances aren’t the only reason for the dip in homeownership. Millennials are recognizing the many benefits of renting — including reasons that have nothing to do with money.
1. Love of amenities
Many apartment buildings feature free amenities that would come at a significant cost for homeowners. These range from obviously visible perks like electric car charging ports, gyms, and movie screening rooms to the subtle, such as concierge service and cellphone reception in all areas of the building, including the underground garage — a boon to millennials, many of whom don’t have land lines.
2. Love of community
Millennials are drawn to the community and shared spaces in apartment buildings. With limited budgets in urban locales, including places where studio apartments can be smaller than 400 square feet, younger renters are enjoying common kitchens or coffee bars, libraries, and rec rooms. Plus, there’s the love of community outside of the building itself. Renting a downtown apartment allows for proximity to culture and nightlife without having to move to the suburbs — even if they could afford a house in a more residential neighborhood. But if millennials DO want to try living in a suburban neighborhood to get to know that community before making a commitment to buy, renting is always an option (see the next reason).
3. Love of flexibility
Many see buying a single-family home as the path to forever escaping noisy neighbors on the other side of a wall or ceiling, but in truth, renting provides much more flexibility to leave behind troublesome places. A nuisance who moves in halfway into a yearlong lease becomes a memory in months; one who moves next door halfway into a 15-year mortgage can feel like a problem for life. The ultimate benefit of renting may arise from the flexibility of leaving for any reason, especially career reasons. Millennials tend to change jobs three times more often than their older counterparts and stay with the same employer for just three years on average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Renting instead of buying makes transferring to a new or better job much simpler. Some leases may even include a termination clause that specifies acceptable reasons for early termination, such as a job transfer that is more than 50 miles away. In some cases, the tenant may not be liable for any payment if the unit is re-rented within a particular period.
4. Love of convenience
A lot of work goes into maintaining your own home—yardwork, standard maintenance and repairs, and important upgrades. Plus, if something major like a furnace breaks, it’s on you. Renters are able to keep home maintenance out of their budgets, and out of their weekend to-do lists. For millennials with active lifestyles, having fewer things to do around the house can have a huge upside.
Millennials—what are other reasons you love renting? Tell us!