Editor's Note: Average home prices in Beijing's secondary market have hit about 42,000yuan ($6,800) per square meter. In places where housing prices are consistently high, the barriers to entry for owning a home are steep. Is it OK to rent forever?
When you rent, you can move almost whenever you want, with very little penalty; when you own, selling a home can take a very long time. You lose a lot of flexibility when you "put down roots" and this is one the biggest reasons why you shouldn't buy.
Arman Hossain (US)
I am aware of fees you have to pay and it might seem like you are laying out more than renting for now, but in the long run you are actually saving because of inflation. Rent changes over time and when inflation occurs it will increase, but a mortgage payment for 30 years will always be the same. Also if you have a family, or plan to have one, it's better to own so you have something to pass down. It is better to rent when you do not have any children or immediate family.
When you want to look for a new job, you're restricted to looking in the geographic area around your home. If you get a job offer in another area, you have to go through the headache of selling your home before you can take advantage of it.
Mir Quasem (China)
I have a few regrets about buying my apartment. I bought in the downtown area of Shanghai and my mortgage is about 13,000 yuan a month. My pre-tax income is slightly over 20,000 yuan per month. I have a good job with a handsome salary and could travel abroad twice every year. Before I bought the house, I would usually eat out in good restaurants and buy items that I like. But now I have to save as much as possible to pay for the mortgage. My quality of life has dropped sharply.
Buying a home is not a "get rich quick scheme." A home is a place to live and you have to do the math and buy what you can afford. Don't buy a mansion if you don’t have the money. It's the same for a renter. You should not get into a luxury rental if you cannot afford it. Just like a home, if you miss payments you’ll be out on the street.
I'm in my late 30s and after years of moving around want to settle for a bit but I cannot get my head round committing myself to a 25-year mortgage on a tiny flat that will exhaust my income. I have a decent career with in-demand skills, I have no other consumer debt and am not going to have a family so am pretty flexible. I am scared about spending the money that I earn for years all on something I am not sure I even want.