This letter to the editor appeared in today’s Scottsdale Republic, but as-typical, not on AZCentral. I’m also going to flag it for the Quote of the Day!
I was fascinated to learn in a recent Scottsdale Republic article that, according to Phoenix City Council member Tom Simplot, “renting is the new buying.” We need to remind ourselves that the reason renting is more popular is a direct result of the housing market running amok.
A few years ago, when mortgages were given to people who should never have qualified, they were allowed to purchase overpriced homes that they couldn’t afford. Greed ruled the day and forced many unfortunate individuals into the rental market. When the American dream of owning a home has been replaced by the idea that renting is the new “American vision” for residential living, I think we can all admit we have taken a giant step backward.
In the past few years we have — thanks to developers, bankers and others associated with the housing industry — encouraged folks to purchase properties they couldn’t afford, hyped the benefits of converting apartments to condos and now we are quick to jump on the apartment development bandwagon.
By overbuilding apartments, in spite of Simplot’s assertions to the contrary, we simply guarantee that when the housing market comes back and people are ready to buy again, we will have higher vacancy rates due to the glut of apartments, which will lead to lower rents and resulting issues [emphasis added]. Apartment development is booming, cash registers are ringing, developers are counting their blessings and people like Simplot are hoping that we are just a bunch of cash-strapped suckers.
— Erica Stanton, Scottsdale