The Homeownership Myth

MLewyn's picture

One common myth about American sprawl is that it is somehow related to Americans' support for homeownership.  But in fact, Americans are more likely to rent than residents of many other countries: 33 percent of us do so, as opposed to 26 percent of EU residents, 22 percent of New Zealanders, and 30 percent of Australians and British.  (Denmark's rental rate is about the same as ours).

We are also more likely to live in multifamily dwellings than residents of many European nations; 24 percent of Americans do so, as oppose to 3 percent of Irish, 4 percent of New Zealanders, 13 percent of Australians, and 14 percentof British.  (I note, however, that many European nations are more likely to live in apartments or condominiums).

Where do Americans differ?  Our single-family homeowners are almost entirely in single-family houses, while in other nations people are more likely to own rowhouses.  Only 5 percent of us live in attached single-family homes, less than one-fourth the EU average and about one-half the number in New Zealand, Australia and Canada.   And of course our house are bigger than in other nations.


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