ROANOKE, Va.—Homeownership is down. The U. S Census Bureau released numbers this week, revealing that fewer people are buying homes and more are renting.
Fortunately, the Roanoke and New River Valleys have been spared a bit from harder hits in larger cities. The Sunscape apartments in Roanoke County tend to stay full these days. Right now, they're at 93% capacity.
"It's a good place to rent at. It's got garages and it just works out for me. I'm six miles from work here. That's why. I like being here," said Adam Conner. He and his girlfriend have lived here nearly two years. It's cheaper and easier he says than buying a home. "That's a lot of money to save up for and renting a place is a lot more convenient for a lot of people."
Conner is among a growing number of people in America choosing to rent. The U. S. Census Bureau released numbers this week, showing homeownership is down to where it was 15 years ago in 1997. Nationwide, homeownership is just aboue 65%. In the south, it's 67.5%.
Bob Stauffer is a retired professor of economics at Roanoke College. While there have been foreclosures and declining home values here, he said the construction industry has been hardest hit. "The number of new homes has declined significantly. The number of building permits is less than half of what it was during the boom times," he explained.
Stauffer's best advice: if you are in doubt, waiting won't hurt. While a lot of uncertainties remain, Stauffer says he doubts if our local businesses will feel the pinch.