The rhetorical machinery is cranking up for 2016 political races - national, state and local. One meme politicos have to rethink is home ownership as The American Dream. Recent human experience and the math are against that.
In the experience part, previously middle class people I know, both on the East Coast and here in the Southwest, are still losing their houses. All that equity, gone. Shame pervades, although this ritual of surrender has gone mainstream. Financially, they are in limbo, including their credit rating, until financial institutions make decisions.
As for the math, The Wall Street Journal is full of statistics documenting that renting might be the more sensible economic path traveled. It cites Deutsche Bank numbers which show that in 54 metro markets, "Renting had been less expensive than buying on average across the areas." Meanwhile, in 2013, the WSJ reports, "The median sales price of existing single-family homes rose 11.4% in 2013 from the previous year - the highest yearly increase since 2005." Here is that coverage from the WSJ (sub. req.)
What are compelling lodging memes?
At the top of the list is this: The need for rents that middle class folks can actually afford. The rule of thumb used to be that should max out at one-third of gross income. Many I talk with are resigned to pony up one-half - or more.
Another meme is landlord responsiveness to complaints, ranging from getting rid of dirtbag tenants to air-conditioning systems which consume too much pricey energy.
A third is the need for common areas on the property to create a sense of community.
Since 2004, when I had sold my house in West Hartford, Connecticut at the top of the market, I have been renting. The renting game is one I have had to understand the rules of. Financial institutions can make friends with consumers if they distribute easy-to-read, with tons of Infographics, ebooks about how to be a financially smart renter.