Renters Would Rather Own than Rent

The number of Americans who prefer to rent a home has declined as Americans would rather own now than in past years, according to a survey from the National Association of Realtors.

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Out of 2,000 adults polled nationwide, eight in 10 believe owning a home is a good financial decision and 68% said now is an opportune time to buy a property.

Since NAR conducted its last survey two years ago measuring consumers’ attitudes and concerns about housing opportunities, more renters are now thinking about purchasing a home, up from 25% to 36%, while those who would prefer to rent fell from 31% to 25%.

Furthermore, half of the renters said that eventually becoming a homeowner is one of their highest priorities for the future.  Helping the cause is that many respondents are less concerned about foreclosures now than in 2011, when 47% characterized distressed properties as “very” or a “fairly big problem.”  Today, only 29% say this is an issue.

When asked why home ownership is important, respondents said they wanted to build equity, have a stable and safe environment, and the freedom to choose where to live.

“Due to high housing affordability and today’s interest rates it makes sense for people to consider home ownership over renting,” said Gary Thomas, president of NAR. “In fact, in many parts of the country it’s cheaper to own a home than to rent one.  Therefore, it’s no surprise that renters recognize that owning a home offers tremendous long-term benefits and is an investment in their future.”

For many Americans, the perceived obstacles to home ownership remain unchanged over the years: low wages, student loan debt, and little savings for a down payment and closing costs continue to make it difficult for many to become homeowners, in particularly first-time buyers.

“Buyers with student loan debt may find it difficult to access mortgage credit, as well as save for a down payment,” Thomas stated.  “Pending mortgage finance regulations requiring higher down payments could also contribute to the already tight lending environment.”

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