Editors' pick: Originally published April 27.

A larger number of retirees are opting to forgo homeownership and instead prefer renting to give themselves additional mobility and disposable income.

Renting has emerged as a viable option, because it allows retirees to have more money to fund other retirement expenses, said Robert Johnson, president of the American College of Financial Services in Bryn Mawr, Pa.

For many retirees, renting is a preferred alternative, and selling a home frees up equity that can be used, he said.

Renting is cheaper in many cities and areas unless Baby Boomers plan to leave behind the equity in the house for their children, according to a report conducted by Trulia, a San Francisco-based real estate website.

Our research shows that if a retired household doesn't care about passing along the equity to their heirs, then in most places it would actually be more expensive to buy a home than rent one, said Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist for Trulia. 

During the period of 2005 to 2015, the largest group of renters to increase was Baby Boomers or those 50 and older with a 55% gain, according to a Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies report. Gen X-ers ages 30 to 49 reported an increase of 34% and a rise of 11% occurred among those under 30.

A greater proportion of Americans are renting with 37% doing so in 2015 compared to 31% in 2005, the highest level since the mid 1960s, the report said.

Renting is spreading across income groups since 18% of the increase in renters during this decade earned $100,000 or more, and the number of renters in the top income bracket grew by 61%, according to the report.

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