Housing Options That Will Not Break the Bank

Posted May 23rd, 2012
by Isabell Davila (no comments)

Following the devastation of the housing market, Americans are looking for alternatives to expensive and burdensome mortgages. Affordable housing has become a No. 1 priority for many citizens. Short of living in a trailer, these are the four most financially gentle options for housing.

 

Renting

The Wall Street Journal highlighted the mindset of potential home owners in their findings in a study done by the Demand Institute division of the U.S. Conference Board. The study revealed that the majority of Americans still aspire to own a home in the near future, yet their expectations have taken on a more reasonable turn. In addition to reconsidering their preference for a mansion and aiming more pragmatically, many Americans have decided to rent for the time being until the market recovers a little more.

In fact, Market Watch reported that renting is the primary cause of the recent market improvements over the last few months. Renting boosts the economy in two ways: landlords focus more of their financial resources in property and home improvement, and renters provide a market for the many homes that can’t be sold otherwise. Slowly but surely, the increasing shift to renting is causing the market to stabilize.

Renting is not only a cheaper option for housing, but it comes with fewer responsibilities as well. Often, landlords will include free yard work and repairs as part of the contract, and taxes for a renter are much simpler than those with a mortgage and title. For those not quite ready to purchase a home, but still able to afford the next best thing, renting is an attractive and affordable option.

 

Apartments

Apartments appeal to the younger generation more than anyone else, but recent trends show that senior adults are also considering them for retirement as opposed to an expensive home. This is primarily because many of the retirees are saddled with expensive mortgages that they won’t be able to pay off before ending their employment.

Out of necessity, they are forced to consider more affordable living quarters, and the fact that apartments are generally located close to town is a major benefit to those who might not be driving in the near future or who want to live close to extended family.

For young singles, married couples, or small families, apartments are a great way to build credit history and save for a house. With all the amenities that apartments offer as well as landscaping and repairs, this housing option is not only practical, but fairly hassle-free.

The only financial concern associated with apartments is that rates often increase after each lease is up. Sometimes you can negotiate terms with the landlords, though, to keep the rent the same rate in return for continuing with that complex. Otherwise, it’s not terribly hard to find another apartment in the general vicinity offering lower rates.

 

Mobile Homes

If you are planning to build a house or buy a home, a mobile home can be a great, affordable option for the temporary time being. The Census Bureau produced an annual report noting that the average price for a new manufactured home costs between $37,100 and$83,800 depending on the size and region.

If the home is set up in a development zone or park, additional fees may be required for renting space or facility use — up to $800 a month or more, again depending on location. Since most mobile homes rapidly decline in value over time, they are hardly a long-term investment other than providing a housing situation while saving for a real home.

The other benefit of mobile homes is their transportability. They can be moved almost anywhere and if you have property you plan on building on eventually, putting a mobile home on it temporarily is a simple solution.

 

Government Housing

Although most common in Asia and Europe, there are select places in the United States where government-provided public housing (otherwise known as social housing) is available. Of all the “affordable” options, public housing is the least attractive for safety reasons.

Intended to provide decent and safe rental housing to low income families, elderly, or disabled people, crime poses a serious disincentive. Because the majority of residents are low income, public housing is notorious for high crime rates. The New York Police Department released data about the increase in shooting incidents — a 55% increase from 2009 to 2010. Although authorities suspected that crime didn’t increase overall, but rather relocated, it still highlights the safety risks of public housing.

Nevertheless, in a pinch, public housing can keep you from living on the streets and for those in a low-income situation, it may be their only option.

Depending on your needs, income level, and financial state, any of these options would be easier on the pocketbook while still providing a sensible housing solution.

Categories: News

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