- The purpose of this study was to compare differentials in housing
costs between renting and owning.
The data were obtained from a sample of 60 household heads
who were listed as retired in the city directories. They met the following
criteria: lived independently in the community, were 65 years
of age or older, and were willing to cooperate in the study. The
sample was equally divided between homeowners and renters. The 60
household heads were interviewed in their homes during the spring of
1974 by the author who recorded their answers on the interview
The questions on the interview schedule concerned: (1) demographic
information, (2) description of the housing, (3) housing expenditures,
and (4) property tax relief and deferral information. The 30 renters had a mean age of 77 and the 30 owners had a
a mean age of 75. Four of the renters were married and 19 of the
owners were married. Seventy percent of the 60 household heads
listed their health as good or excellent. Sixty percent of the
60 household heads completed one or more years of college. The
mean income of the 30 renters was $4, 587 and the mean income for
the 30 owners was $8, 912. The mean number of years the household
heads had been retired was ten.
The mean number of years the renters lived in their present
housing was ten years while the owners lived in their present housing
a mean of 24 years. Renters' housing was smaller in size then the
The mean total housing expenditure per annum for the 30 renters
was $1, 985. Housing expenses included $1,659 for rent and $18
for insurance. Operating expenses included $126 for electricity, $44
for gas or oil, $4 for garbage collection, $2 for water and sewer,
$14 for television cable, and $86 for telephone. Other expenses included
$30 for house cleaning and $2 for yard work.
The mean total housing expenditure per annum for the 30
owners was $2, 241.. Housing expenses included $87 for mortgage, $292
for taxes, $81 for insurance, $140 for maintenance and repair,and
$1, 007 for interest forgone. Operating expenses included $178 for
electricity, $173 for gas or oil, $29 for garbage collection, $73 for water and sewer, $34 for television cable, and $113 for telephone.
Other expenses included $14 for house cleaning and $20 for yard work.
The renters paid 13 percent more on housing expenses than
owners. Owners paid 13 percent more on operating expenses than
renters. However, other expenses were about the same for both
renters and owners for house cleaning and yard work.
Hypothesis 1. Hypothesis 1, there is no difference in the average
dollar expense of shelter for homeowners and renters, was
rejected as there was a significant difference at the .01 level
between the housing cost of owners and renters. The mean
housing costs were $1,985 for renters and $2, 241 for owners.
Hypothesis 2. Hypothesis 2, there was no difference in the
percentage of income spent for shelter between the elderly who rent
and who own their housing, was accepted as there was no significant
difference between the mean percent of income spent on housing of
the renters, 44 percent, and the owners, 37 percent.
Hypothesis 3. Hypothesis 3, there is no relationship between
the size of the house and the expenses of housing for the elderly,
was rejected at the .05 level. The yearly mean renter use cost
per square foot was $2. 24. The yearly mean owner use cost
per square foot was $1.65.
Hypothesis 4. Hypothesis 4, there is no difference in the percentage
of the elderly homeowners and renters who use property tax relief, was accepted as there was no significant difference found
between the renters' and owners' use of property tax relief. Twentyseven
of the 30 renters and 23 of the 30 owners used some type of
property tax relief. The total housing expenditures were reduced by
nine percent for both renters and owners by the use of property tax