Book review: The Wealthy Renter by Alex Avery

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Please note I did not receive compensation to review this book.

The home ownership dream is very alive and well in Canada. The Federal government estimates about 70% of Canadians own their homes. It seems like the remaining 30% is obsessed with joining-in.

If you do some internet search, there aren’t that many articles, posts or books advocating for renting. This book does exactly that and it is geared towards Canada.

Alex Avery is a CFA® and holds an MBA in Finance. He currently is the Managing Director of Institutional Equities at CIBC. This division provides research and analysis on real-estate companies.

the wealthy renter definitely presents a different point of view….

I like that Avery dispels a few common myths surrounding home ownership and tries to best address the unhealthy obsession Canadians have with it.

There absolutely are benefits to renting, particularly in Canada when tenants are not responsible for home maintenance and repairs. Renting is overall, more flexible….but don’t we all know this already?!

The biggest financial benefit of renting presented in the book is when the tenant actually invests the difference between the cost renting and the cost of owning. I wholeheartedly agree with this…provided renting is cheaper than owning.

….but is overall too pushy

The whole point of this book is to advocate for renting, so I get that Avery would really push for it. Unfortunately, at times, his arguments do not make sense. One of his biggest points is that home owners do not know about the actual costs of their properties. He gives the impression owners are naive and think the only cost is their mortgage….unreal.

Avery also claims repairs costs are not known in advance, which is not exactly true either. A home owner can ask for estimates on various items; a strata corporation can obtain a depreciation report.

unfortunately, the answer to renting vs buying is not so clear cut

And even more so if you live in Vancouver or Toronto, where rents are extraordinary high, including in the suburbs.

Anyone contemplating buying a home must do some serious calculations and look at their personal circumstances as well. Renting is more than OK too!

final verdict: pass

Although the book has the merit of presenting a different point of view, it does not do a good job at it.

Instead of aligning numbers and somewhat confusing analysis, it should have focused more on addressing the stigma around renting.

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