RENTAL OR AFFORDABLE HOUSING – MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACT ON SINGLES
These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice.
A past post (to-rent-or-own) on this blog discussed rental versus affordable housing for singles. The final conclusion of this post was that it is more difficult to do either rental or home purchases for singles than it is for married/coupled persons.
Financial management persons will say that it is much cheaper to rent than to own and that one should probably rent if there are financial constraints. The advice is good from a financial point of view; however, the impact of this advice does not take into account the psychological well-being of singles.
Rental housing often means that singles have to choose second best to married/coupled persons and families. Financial constraints often means rental properties singles have to choose from will be located in noisy, high traffic areas with no views except a retail space or another apartment across the way. As well, there may often be a lot of noise between units. There may not always be a washer and dryer within the apartment. This means renters may have to go down the hall, down several floors or even outside the building to laundry facilities. Coin-operated laundry within or outside the building are very expensive and inconvenient.
Rental housing for singles often means small apartments with small or no balconies. Meanwhile, the average size house in Canada is approximately 1900 square feet and growing and it seems buyers’ expectations are very high. They want for starters granite countertops, gourmet kitchens, a bedroom for each child, more than one bathroom, a playroom for the kids, a media room for the family and a large patio and yard for the barbecue as well as a basement and a garage in a choice location. As has been explained in a past post, families buying these houses will often pay less per square foot than singles will for their smaller housing purchases. In addition to the physical aspects, families will probably get much more for their house in psychological satisfaction and well-being than singles will with their small spaces.
Rental in senior year for singles and the poor often means very little is left for a good financial quality of life after the rent has been paid.
Families and financial planners need to look on the other side of fence as to how all this impacts singles. Singles need pleasant surroundings, the ability to make choices in what appeals to them, and affordable housing, just like married/coupled persons and families. Somehow, the perception by society is that because singles are single, they need and deserve less than married/coupled persons and families for housing.
Rather than telling singles and the poor that rental is the only option for them, upside-down financing for housing where families and those with the ability to pay get more and pay less for housing (upside-down-affordable-housing) needs to change.
Affordable housing for singles, poor families and the homeless is becoming more and more difficult to achieve in many countries including Canada. Outside the box thinking where singles are included in housing solutions, not just families, needs to be addressed for the psychological well-being of all persons regardless of marital status and income levels.
This blog is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles. It is not intended to provide personal or financial advice.