Why I rent, despite low mortgage rates
Mortgage rates are in the basement. Real estate is more affordable. But in this dismal job market, Americans need to stay mobile. For now, home is where I lay my head, and it’s a rental.
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It is true that the digital age permits global call centers in Kolkata, India, and allows radiologists in Singapore to read MRI scans of Alaskans, but the global economy still requires flexibility and mobility. At the very least, you won’t be tied to an unloadable duplex in Las Vegas or Youngstown, PA., when rewarding work awaits you in Lubbock, Texas, if you can easily move around. The only thing worse than being broke is being broke and immobile. A mobile person, by definition, can’t be in a rut, right?Skip to next paragraph
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One of the worst places in the developed world for young people right now is Spain, and young Spaniards are fleeing their homeland in hordes. Youth unemployment in Spain is nearly 45 percent, reports GlobalPost, and scores of educated young Spaniards are leaving. No one is projecting that the US economy will get this bad, but Americans should still have an exit plan.
If some sectors of the US economy struggle because young people like me can not or will not buy homes, so be it. Realtors, land developers, and home improvement retailers were among the pom-pom people who cheered Americans to chase houses they were told would surely accrue value.
Well, that was a sham, and it’s not my responsibility to put the pep-band back to work. Plus, saving is good for the long-term health of the US economy. A spending binge functions like newspaper in a fire: It generates a great deal of energy, but quickly dies down and leaves an ashy mess.
I’ll keep an open mind. I could be persuaded that home values are done tanking, mortgage rates won't continue to fall, and that American workers have renewed security, but the proof is in the appraisal. I need to see numbers that currently just aren’t there. For now, home is where I lay my head, and it’s a rental.