Better To Rent Than To Buy? Most People Say Yes

The very fact that a second "Sex and the City" movie exists is proof that the lessons of the sharp economic downturn -- both in Manhattan real estate and, um, everything else -- haven't totally sunken in with everybody out there. But while it's usually not a good idea to look to NYC real estate for signs of rational, level-headed thought, a recent poll by the National Apartment Association indicates that perhaps those looking for Manhattan rental apartments have internalized the lessons of the economic demi-disaster better than, say, whoever green-lit "Sex and the City 2: The Grievous Miscalculation." The NAA poll finds that 76 percent of people prefer to rent apartments, as opposed to owning them. That's a five percent increase since 2008, and it is, in its way, kind of heartening.

"The survey also found that 60 percent of renters plan to stay put for the next year, as will 71 percent of homeowners, both figures reflecting low consumer confidence and uncertainty in the market, according to the association," The Real Deal reports. "The independent survey, comparing 2008 and 2009 and polling more than 2,000 U.S. adults, also documented an increase from 2008 in the number of all survey respondents citing the burden of home repairs or maintenance as a primary benefit of renting a home versus owning."

All of which makes perfect sense. It's nice to be reminded that sometimes -- if not always, as theater marquees nationwide suggest -- rational thinking can indeed win out. Weird, that.