Buying vs. Renting

Photo courtesy of Blake Israel

Will Gen Z make buying homes obsolete?

Generation Z (Gen Z) does not want to settle down. This has been the overall characterization of this generation, in both the eyes of social media and older generations. 

While our parents and grandparents strongly aspired to buy houses and often quickly settled down with families, we do not necessarily feel the same. However, we at the Technique wish to discuss how wide this sentiment reaches, reasons for such aversions to settling and the pros and cons to buying a house versus renting. 

There is no doubt that the housing market is not at its best right now. Interest rates are up, but the demand for housing is still high because there are also fewer houses available. Additionally, rent costs are going up extremely fast, and salaries are not reflective of that. It has become more difficult than ever to save and put aside extra income to invest.

However, for students like ourselves, it can be difficult to even fathom homeownership or the idea of settling down in one place. We have minimal familiarity with mortgages and loans and interest rates. Part of the reason for this is that buying a house is a complex process. 

There can be complications affiliated with acceptance when trying to get a mortgage or loan. It can be hard to get accepted for a loan. For many, it can be extremely difficult to afford a down payment, which are usually in the order of tens of thousands of dollars. Additionally, so much maintenance goes into a home that would not be necessary when renting, such as pest control.

In Atlanta, the housing market has become extremely competitive. As the city transforms into a technology hub, new settlers are driving up costs. Workers are often coming from places with high costs of living, such as Silicon Valley, and the demand for luxury apartments is high — housing that is not affordable to many Atlanta natives. 

However, in cities like Atlanta, renting apartments is the only realistic option if you want to stay inside the city. If one is buying a house in a city, the reality is buying a house 20 to 30 minutes outside the city, in the suburbs. 

For many younger people, this is far from ideal. Gen Z tends to value certain things more than their parents. 

For example, while renting does not have a huge payoff in the long run, it does allow flexibility for things like traveling. Buying a house is heavily associated with settling down, which is not bad, but Gen Z often does not want to do that until much later. 

For those who do want to purchase a house, it can be a great asset if one has built up the resources necessary to buy one. It can also be a good way to multiply your assets. 

However, there is certainly a gap in who has the means to do this, generally upper or upper-middle class individuals. 

Buying a house is a huge challenge, and overcoming that barrier is difficult but worth it for some. Additionally, there is a lack of exposure to things like starter
homes, especially in the tech job lifestyles.

Even at Tech, the average salary after graduating can be really high for certain fields such as computer science or some types of engineering, but this is not necessarily the case for fields where graduate studies and slow progressions up the ladder are necessary.

As students at the Institute, the STEM mentality can make us oblivious to the bleakness of circumstances surrounding housing. However, for careers that are not booming at present, and sometimes for tech jobs as well, it is the reality for a lot of Americans. 

It is important to note both the pros and cons of buying a house. For some, it can be constraining and not worth it if moving every few years and exploring or traveling is a goal. It can also be disadvantageous if one is looking for a cultural hub, which are most often found in the hearts of cities. 

For others looking to settle down, a house can be a great investment for one’s future. One can also buy a house and rent it out if they have the means. There is no right answer in this debate. What matters in the end is what your goals are.


The Consensus Opinion reflects the majority opinion of the Editorial Board of the Technique, but not necessarily the opinions of individual editors.