The New Trend in Home Ownership? It’s Not Owning at All


Joel Tomfohr

– VOL. 14

It used to be clear, this adulting thing. Enter the workforce, partner up with someone, buy a house. But with so many aspects of our lives looking different in 2022 than it did in our parents’ and grandparents’ generations, we’re also reconsidering “Buy a House” being a must-have on the checklist. 

The hike in interest rates and the increases to come means those of us who are buying are getting less space for the same, if not more, amount of money. Renting allows people to choose neighborhoods that feel right, for their families, pets, and lifestyles. Cities are more vibrant now than ever—there wasn’t the mass exodus during the pandemic that was predicted. As a result, communities have discovered that local connections and street life are more valuable now than ever.

Millennials Keep Renting as Interest Rates Rise

Just look around at your neighbors, and you’ll see that buying isn’t what it once was. Today Americans across all income levels are renting. It just makes sense. In 2021, for example, The New York Times reported that high-earning Millennials were flooding the rental market, at a time when previous generations of the same age would be buying. With mortgage rates rising while inventory drops, more and more Americans are hanging on to their renter status. As of June 16 this year, fixed rate mortgages were at 5.78 percent, up from 5.23 percentage points, the highest increase in three and a half decades.  This trend is causing people to reshape and invest in their communities in ways that they weren’t before, regardless of whether they have a mortgage or lease.

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In Hollywood, long-term renters have invested in creating connections with neighbors and local businesses, like the Record Parlour.

Transient No More, Renters Savor Local Culture and Connections 

 For many, being a renter means staying put and not having to give up on a lifestyle that defines who you are. People choose to rent in their neighborhood because of the amenities it has to offer and no longer feel like they must buy in a place that is distant from those things. It means not giving up on local arts and culture, even amenities like your local gyms, and pools that you’ve become accustomed to. Renters can live in urban neighborhoods that are close to their children’s schools, and the families and play-date friends that live nearby.

The WFH Lifestyle Allows Renters to Live Where They Want, Not Where the Work

We’ve entered the golden era of remote work, says Forbes, and with it, people have gotten used to a rush hour commute that is little more than a walk down the street for coffee, putting some hard-earned cash back into the neighborhood before heading back to the home office. For those who must go to the office, renting in the neighborhood close to where they work is advantageous—they can get to their offices in 10 to 20 minutes and often without getting in their cars or hopping onto public transportation. They have found that the lifestyle of staying local far outweighs that of leaving the neighborhoods where people live their day-to-day lives.

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The morning commute no longer defines the lifestyle of long-term renters who live in the heart of the Downtown LA and work remotely.

Instead of moving to rural and suburban areas since the pandemic hit in 2020, many people have decided to stay, putting down roots in smaller, walkable cities. Places like Boise, Idaho, and Austin, Texas, were already growing before COVID, but those numbers have skyrocketed.  It turns out that Americans want to live, work, shop, eat, and go to school within walking distance of their homes.

New Research Shows Renters Are Really Good for the Local Economy

More and more, long-term renters are having a significant impact on their neighborhoods, making them vibrant and appealing for many reasons. For one, they contribute to their stability. New buildings replace older, abandoned properties, which encourage further real-estate development. The argument that rentals lower the value of properties around them just doesn’t pan out. A recent study from the New York University Law School found that rentals can boost property values. 

With long-term renting becoming more and more common, once-transient renters are sticking around. Buildings that used to be filled with short-term renters feel more like a community than ever before. With the help of apps like Life at Venn, renters don’t have to sacrifice the quality-of-life perks that go along with living in urban neighborhoods

In Venn’s neighborhoods around the world, we see it every day, as neighbors plan ways to give back–from a neighborhood clean-up event, to an artists market featuring local makers. Neighbors can rent and develop deep relationships with their neighborhoods. And their message is clear. We live here. Let’s make it great.