The Allure Of Renting Grows, Study Shows

Although homeownership remains a major aspiration for most Americans, consumers are showing an increased willingness to rent, a new Fannie Mae study reveals.

The Fannie Mae 2010 Own-Rent Analysis, which is based on primary research with homeowners and renters, U.S. Census Bureau data, and micro- and macro-economic parameters, suggests that demographic trends, such as shrinking households, and financial caution among consumers are causing renting to become a more appealing option.

Fifty-one percent of current owners and renters say that the housing crisis has not affected their overall willingness to buy a home. However, while homeownership aspirations are high for the long term, Americans have near-term doubts about buying. Overall, according to Fannie Mae's National Housing Survey third-quarter results, 33%, or one-third of Americans, would be more likely to rent their next home than buy – up from 30% in January. Among renters, 59% said they would continue to rent in their next move, compared to 54% in January.

‘Despite Americans' strong desire to own their homes, our study reveals that life events are greatly influencing families' decision to rent,’ says Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae vice president and chief economist. ‘This trend, coupled with the housing crisis, has caused consumers to approach homeownership with greater caution and thoughtfulness.’

Fannie Mae's research analysis indicates that shifting U.S. demographic and lifestyle trends correlate to consumers' housing decisions, which may have long-term implications for the housing market.

For example, married couples historically have been more likely to own than other households, but traditional married couples are a shrinking portion of the population. Single respondents are least likely to own and report the lowest level of satisfaction with their housing choices. After controlling for age, income, wealth and a number of other factors, analysis shows that married/partnered couples are 2.5 times more likely to own than other respondents, Fannie Mae says.

SOURCE: Fannie Mae


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