Buy Rent or Live at Home
Lance Roberts makes the cogent observation that what really drives long term economic growth is not residential investment as much as "household formation". I have mashed up only 2 of his 6 chart argument to show that total U.S. housing activity in the U.S. has rallied out of the 2009 pit of gloom, but the action appears to have faded in 4Q 2013 and is stalled at 2008 levels.
On the lower panel we can see that household formation in the U.S. has plummeted off the 2005 peak and the percentage of owner occupiers is back to 1980 levels.
Owner occupier levels in Canada, according to the StatsCan 2011 Census via The Financial Post, is at a level that corresponds with the peak in U.S. levels of 2005. Canadian national home ownership was 68.4% in 2006 and 69% in 2011 spurred on by a high-rise condominium boom; 30.9% of owner households in Canada live in condos and in Toronto it's a very high 67.4% of homeowners that do.
But household formation it is not. Single non-family households make up 45.5% of condo owning dwellers in the top 10 Canadian metros. This, along with the underemployed is perhaps Canada's Freeter class.
FREETER: Japanese expression for people who lack full-time employment who are underemployed, who do not start a career after high school or university, but instead earn money from low skilled and low paid jobs. (Wikipedia)
Here is the distribution of owner-households by household type, for owner-occupied condominiums and other owner-occupied dwellings in 10 CMAs (Canadian Metros) with the highest number of occupied condominiums. StatsCan 2011 Catalogue 99-014-X2011003
History, Charts & Curated Readings
"Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement; and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana Vol. I, Reason in Common Sense
"History, real solemn history, I cannot be interested in.... I read it a little as a duty; but it tells me nothing that does not either vex or weary me. The quarrels of popes and kings, with wars and pestilences in every page; the men all so good for nothing, and hardly any women at all - it is very tiresome." Jane Austen spoken by Catherine Morland in 'Northanger Abbey'