Shall I Build A House
after the War?
Shall I Buy or Rent? The
question that will be uppermost in the minds of many people seeking better homes
after the war is—shall I buy or rent?
For the average person,
who has only several hundred or a few thousand dollars to invest, this is a difficult
matter to decide. There are arguments for and against home buying.
majority of Americans in cities and towns live in rented houses or apartments.
Although the popularity of home ownership gained steadily in the 40 years before
1929, the depression sharply checked that trend. Thus, in 1890 about 37 out of
every 100 families in nonfarm areas owned their own homes.
rose to 41 out of 100 in 1920 and to 46 in 1930. By 1940 it had gone to only 41
from the 1934 low of about 40. Relatively more people in small towns own their
homes than do those in large cities. Also home ownership is more common on farms
than in nonfarm areas, although the proportion of farmer-owners has been falling
off for a long time. That is, in 1890, 66 out of every 100 farmers—2 out
of 3—owned their farmhouses. In 1940 only 53 out of every 100 of them did—just
a little more than half.
Why do so many Americans rent instead of buy
houses? The main reasons are (1) houses cost a lot; (2) home buying is, under
present conditions, so risky that the buyer with an uncertain income stands to
lose his investment if he cannot keep up the mortgage payments.
Why Do Houses Cost So Much?