​Housing Crisis, Lifestyles Alter View Of Renting

Staff Reporter
Aug. 10, 2014

Housing Crisis, Lifestyles Alter View Of Renting - People now have a different view about renting after being forced to alter their lifestyles following the housing crises. Many of their stories are traumatic, and they believe that owning their property is no more stable than renting. It’s a big change for American families, according to a new published survey.

Though nearly three out of four (72 percent) of the renters betweenamong the 1433 adults who took part in the survey still aspire to own a home at some point in their lives, home ownership was the big loser in the study that included a survey and ten focus groups.

Some key findings:

  • There’s been a seismic shift in renting versus owning. Some 57 percent of adults believe that “buying has become less appealing,” and by nearly the same percentage (54 percent), a majority believes that “renting has become more appealing” than it was before, producing a net shift of 60 percent.
  • Nearly half of current owners (45 percent) can see themselves renting at some point in the future.
  • Homeownership is no longer synonymous with the American Dream. Three in 5 adults (61 percent) believe that “renters can be just as successful as owners at achieving the American Dream.” This sentiment is broadly felt, among owners (59 percent) as well as renters (67 percent), and across all regions of the country.
  • Ownership is no guarantee of housing stability. Nearly half of all respondents (45 percent), owners and renters, have experienced a time in their life when their “housing situation was not stable and secure.”

These changing attitudes extend to the way Americans perceive governmental housing policies.

After having been provided with information about U.S. housing policy and demographic and lifestyle changes, more than 3 in 5 self-identified Democrats (69%), Republicans (62%), and Independents (65%) believe the “focus of our housing policy should be fairly equally split on rental housing and housing for people to own.”

This balanced approach toward government policies supporting both rental housing and homeownership shows similar support among all races, ages, regions, and income levels.

“Many of the positive attributes that have long been associated with homeownership are fading, and on the flip side of the coin, it is remarkable that nearly half of all homeowners can picture themselves one day becoming a renter,” said Peter D. Hart of Hart Research Associates.

“It is stunning,” Hart said, “to see how Americans are beginning to favor a new balance that serves both the homeownership and rental markets. The emergence of this more balanced view that government support for rental housing and homeownership should be equalized is both surprising and significant. The How Housing Matters survey underscores that it’s no longer renters versus owners, the haves versus the have-nots, or the young versus the old. There is a new and real acceptance of a more balanced approach to housing policy that puts renting and owning on a more equal footing.”

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