I’m not sure… but I don’t think the conclusions you’re drawing from the article are the ones that the article is arguing from the data.
Homeowner rental incomes are also surging, in part because homeowner costs dropped so sharply after the housing bust and recession.www.marketwatch.com
The metric is a % of GDP. The number is higher than might otherwise be expected because they’re including money that is not actually being paid, because the costs associated with owning a home are so much less (according to the article) than the rent that is being imputed. It’s including ‘rental income’ from people who own their homes but could not afford to actually pay the rent on the home they own.
I think the article is positing that the large divergence of the two means something’s amiss.
If the cost of owning is so much cheaper than the cost of renting, the situation favors those well off enough to own homes (especially those who could buy when houses were cheap) — encouraging the wealth divide to increase.
I’m not really certain, though… found it a bit confusing myself.