Why? This is a question that many people forget to ask themselves before proceeding with a big decision. I have noticed that many people see what their parents did at their age and think they should do the same things. However, the world is not the same as it was thirty years ago. For instance, some of my friends in their mid to late-twenties are now looking to buy houses. Since I work in the multifamily industry my obvious question for them is always, “Why?” The two answers I generally receive are the following:
1) They feel they are throwing money at something that isn’t theirs when they can work towards owning a home for only a few hundred dollars more per month.
2) They are planning a family and don’t want to raise children or get married while still living in an apartment.
Regarding the first answer, most of my friends live close to downtown Austin and they think they are comparing apples to apples when they look at a house in Buda or Pflugerville versus their apartments. Value grows from convenience, and living close to most of the employers and entertainment in Austin is better than fighting traffic on 35 or MoPac. Also, it is extremely rare for a person to work for only one company these days. Downsizing, transfers, promotions, and new opportunities are commonalities in today’s workforce. Flexibility in your home is a quality that one cannot quantify. If you buy a house, it may work for your current location, income, and family status, but what happens if you need to move, need less/more space, etcetera? Camden’s transfer and cancellation options are extremely lenient and allow residents the flexibility that home-owning can’t offer.
As for the second answer, I again ask, “Why?” The first words out of their mouths are almost always “I don’t know.” The idea of getting married, moving into a house in the suburbs, and starting a family stems out of what many of us grew up with. “I want to give my child the same experience I had living in a house.” Why? Many apartment communities are actually better environments than suburban neighborhoods for raising children due to less vehicle traffic by the homes, gated entrances, courtesy officers, and common areas (including pools, billiards tables, etcetera). What about this sounds bad for children?
The world is ever-changing, so I think that throwing out the stigma that apartments are for young, single individuals is a step in the direction of a more economical lifestyle.