Renting Vs. Buying screenshot

A friend of mine has been following our recent analysis of demographic groups more likely to rent or buy, especially this story by Candace Tharp and this breakdown of Census info, and sent me a link to this online lecture from a Khan Academy instructor that dissects the costs associated with renting versus buying a home.

The instructor, who lives in Northern California’s Silicon Valley, attempts to compare the cost of renting versus buying two identical homes. About 40 seconds in, though, my journalist spidey sense went off when the instructor started making generalizations and using absolutes, saying “Well isn’t buying always better than renting?”

Well, isn’t Veuve Clicquot always better than Cook’s? I may think so, but that’s just my opinion. 

That’s where the instructor jumps off into criticizing homeowners for peer pressure, Realtors for, you know, wanting you to buy so they can make a living making sure you get the best deal possible for your new home/home you are selling.

Really, this looks to me like not only an oversimplification of a naturally cyclical market, but a gross oversimplification of a very complicated buying process. Heck, the instructor even admits that he’s oversimplifying things. He’s basically bending his logic to his assumptions.

So, watch the lectures and tell me what you think: Is it always better to buy than rent, and what is up with the ridiculous rents in Silicon Valley? I’d move to Texas instead!