A wish for many renters

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The American Dream has a roof over its head.

And that roof is the proud property of the Americans living underneath it.

A study being released to the public today by an organization called Apartment List shows that on a broad scale across the past century, an increasing percentage of Americans has gotten away from renting, opting for their name on a mortgage instead. Several interesting factoids from the Apartment List study:

• In 1930, 53.4 percent of all U.S. households were renting.

• By 2016, 36.8 percent of households were renting.

• The GI Bill, after World War II, gets much of the credit for opening more doors to home ownership. The proliferation of suburbs sure didn’t hurt, either.

What isn’t surprising at all is that for many years, rents have been growing faster than renters’ pay. The median share of income spent on rent, the study says, increased from 15.6 percent in 1960 to 25.6 percent in 2016. Meantime, researchers say, the average rental unit size has increased slightly since 1930, from 4 rooms to 4.4, but the average number of people living in that space has decreased. In 1930, 3.9 people on average lived in rentals. By 2016, that average had dropped to 2.4.

There’s an abundance of data showing some of the challenges our massive millennial generation faces in becoming home owners. Part of it is coming up with roughly 20 percent down payment, according to a story last summer on BusinessInsider.com, which also references roughly $1.5 trillion in student loans likely making homeownership more challenging. Some observers have noted that many millennials don’t want to be tied down to a particular place or job, preferring instead to be free to move about the cabin, so to speak.

It’s understandable that many Americans would choose to rent and avoid the headaches and expense of upkeep. But for those harboring the American Dream, we hope it comes true soon. Owning your home instills a sense of pride, place and permanence that in this all-too-often chaotic world, can also feel a lot like peace.

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See the Apartment List story: http://bit.ly/2yUepTK

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