Why the American dream might just be that- owning a house Vs renting an apartment

Maricela Soberanes Tuesday July 18th, 2023

The American Dream has long been associated with the idea of homeownership. For generations, the belief that owning a house is a key milestone of success has been deeply ingrained in American society. However, with shifting economic and social dynamics, the idea of the American Dream being solely tied to homeownership is being questioned. This blog post explores the factors of inflation, interest rates, rental alternatives, shifts in demographics, and long-term implications, highlighting why the American Dream might just be that – a dream.

Inflation and Interest Rates

Inflation and interest rates play a crucial role in the housing market and influence the affordability of homeownership. Inflation erodes the purchasing power of the dollar over time, leading to increased housing costs. Rising interest rates can make mortgages more expensive, potentially limiting the feasibility of owning a house. Renting an apartment, on the other hand, provides flexibility and the ability to adjust to changing economic conditions without being tied to long-term financial commitments. We often refer to the shifting of housing going along with the shifting of the economy.  During economic thrive, residents might chose to live on a newer property with more amenities (Class A property). On the contrary, during economic hardship, the same resident might shift their living space to a older property, outside of the immediate desirable area and with less amenities (class B or C properties). 

Rental Alternatives

Renting an apartment offers a variety of benefits that challenge the traditional notion of homeownership. Firstly, it provides greater mobility, allowing individuals to relocate for job opportunities or personal reasons without the burden of selling a property. Additionally, renting often comes with fewer maintenance responsibilities, saving both time and money compared to homeownership. The rise of co-living spaces and shared housing options further enhances the appeal of renting, fostering a sense of community and reducing living expenses.

Shift in Demographics

Demographic shifts in society are reshaping the way people view housing. Younger generations, such as millennials and Generation Z, are increasingly opting for flexibility and experiences over the stability of homeownership. Factors such as career mobility, desire for urban living, and financial constraints contribute to the growing preference for renting. Moreover, changing family structures and an aging population are leading to an increased demand for housing options that cater to different needs, including rental properties.

Long-Term Implications

Examining the long-term implications of homeownership versus renting reveals a more nuanced picture. While homeownership has historically been considered a solid investment, it is not immune to market fluctuations. The housing market can experience booms and busts, and owning a house ties up a significant portion of an individual’s net worth in one asset. Renting, on the other hand, offers the potential to invest surplus funds in other avenues such as stocks, bonds, or entrepreneurship, potentially leading to greater wealth creation over time.


So the question we often get is: Chris and Maricela, what does this means to me as an investor?

As economic and societal factors evolve, the American Dream should be reevaluated to reflect the changing dynamics of homeownership. Inflation, interest rates, rental alternatives, shifts in demographics, and long-term implications all contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of housing choices. While homeownership remains a significant goal for many, renting an apartment offers numerous advantages, including financial flexibility, reduced responsibilities, and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. 

As for Multifamily investors, this scenarios highlight the economic resilience of Multifamily assets. That resilience combined with the scalability for apartment investing, makes it a more appealing option for investors. 

The attracting aspects of investing on apartments include;

  1. Ability to easily grow a portfolio 
  2. The largest tax strategy advantages
  3. Ability to diversify property classes. 
  4. Hands off approach 

Ultimately, the American Dream should embrace a broader definition that encompasses not only building our net worth by owning a house, but to diversify and increase our sources (investing, building businesses, etc.) of income empowering individuals to make choices that align with their aspirations and circumstances.

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