Wired has an editorial about ‘rentership society‘, the growing inclination for people to rent items ranging from houses to cars to music instead of owning.
For renters today, finding a new apartment on craigslist is almost as easy as streaming a movie. (OK, not quite, but you get the point.) Homeowners don’t reside in this frictionless economy: They’re stuck in one place, unable to quickly downgrade to a cheaper residence when times are lean (or upgrade when times are flush). And it costs thousands of dollars in renovations to beat the depreciation curve.
I speak from experience. My wife and I bought and sold two condos during the latter stages of the real-estate boom, escaping both as break-even propositions (after transaction costs). When we moved into a rental apartment a couple of years ago, we realized that ownership had been a burden, a time sink, and a money pit. Now we ask the landlord to fix things when they break, and we don’t mind that the floor is not the one we would have chosen. We pay less each month than we would on a mortgage, and we bank money that once would have gone into installing central air.
As many markets see asset deflation on houses and condos does that affect a societal preference for owning or renting?
..Oh and I’d be very interested in a Vancouver style car rental. If anyone can find out where I can rent a car for half the cost of owning it and leave all the maintenance responsibility up to the owner please let me know!