Renters want to buy, just not yet

by Kelli Rogers10 Jun 2013

The vast majority of renters say they expect to buy in the future, but nearly half don't believe they'll be able to for at least five years.

A report from Fannie May’s Economic & Strategic Research Group has indicated 90 percent of aspiring renters expect to purchase a home in the future, even though most have ranked their renting experience favorably.

But 42% of those who expect to buy believe they will not be able to do so for at least five years. Despite the hurdles renters anticipate on the path to homeownership, many say they are renting now primarily as a stepping stone toward making that move into a home in the future. This news comes on the heels of the recent ORC International survey that shows over half of investors who own rental properties plan to hold them for at least five years or more.

Single-family rentals are the fastest growing component of households, expanding over 25% since the 2005 peak in homeownership, according to Zelman & Associates. The number of renter-occupied single family detached homes is about 11.4 million, almost 2.1 million, or 22% higher than in 2006, according to the Census Bureau.

Fannie May’s findings showed that younger renters aged 18 to 34 are nearly twice as likely to say their main reason for renting is to prepare financially for future ownership, compared to renters aged 35 and up.

The National Housing Survey polls more than 1,000 homeowners and renters each month to assess their attitudes toward owning and renting a home, the current state of their household finances, views on the U.S. housing finance system, and overall confidence in the economy.

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