One Out of Four Renters Never Plan to Own a Home

Survey reveals tenants are not rushing to buy a home…also shows the “McMansion” craze is over…

Dennis Norman

Trulia.com released the results of its recent “American Dream” survey on attitudes toward home ownership which, not surprisingly to me, shows interest in the “American Dream” of home-ownership has cooled a little. According to the survey,  27 percent of renters indicated that they do not plan to buy a home — ever. Of those renters who do plan to purchase someday, 68 percent said it would be more than two years before they do.

“Large numbers of people delaying their plans to buy a home, or not planning to buy at all, could have an enormous domino delaying effect on economic recovery in the U.S.,” said Pete Flint, CEO of Trulia. “Renters converting into buyers are crucial to turning around the housing slump, but the current economic crisis is causing people to become very hesitant to get off the fence and buy a home. The government needs to focus more on job creation and job security, as well as stemming the foreclosure hemorrhage. Once that happens, the American public will once again have enough confidence in the real estate market and the economy, at large, to resume purchasing homes.”

Other Highlights from the Survey:

  • 72 percent of American adults still believe home ownership is part of their personal American dream. This is a decline from 77 percent of adults six months ago.
  • Nearly one in five Americans (19 percent) stated that their attitude toward homeownership has grown more negative over the last six months. However, more Americans — 23 percent –– said that their attitude toward owning a home has grown more positive in the same time frame.
  • Seventy-nine percent of the renters who do plan to buy homes at some point said something could inspire them to buy a home within the next 12 months. The changes in circumstance most frequently cited as the “tipping factors” that would make renters decide to buy within the next year were: being able to save enough money for a down payment, getting a new job, getting a promotion/raise, and interest rates staying low or getting even lower.

The McMansion Era is Over

The survey also shows the appeal of the “McMansion” has waned.  Those American adults for whom home ownership is part of the American Dream displayed a preference for smaller homes, with only 9 percent saying their ideal home size is more than 3,200 square feet — the same number of who said they’d like their home to be between 800 and 1,400 square feet. Fifty-five percent of Americans would prefer a home between 1,401 and 2,600 square feet.


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