Renters Are Starting to Feel Richer, But…

Trying to convert renters to homeowners? Your job may be getting tougher. A new survey from Freddie Mac finds more renters are optimistic about their financial situations, but they’re less likely to move even if their rents increase.

“It would appear from our new survey that renters today feel better about their finances, like where they are living, and view renting favorably,” says David Brickman, executive vice president of Freddie Mac Multifamily. “This is consistent with findings from earlier surveys that show a steadily growing number of renters have a positive view of renting.”

A declining number of renters say they are working toward homeownership, expect to buy a home, or plan to move within the next few years, the survey shows. Fifty-nine percent of the nearly 1,300 renters surveyed say they plan to rent their next home, an increase from 55 percent since Freddie Mac’s last renter survey in September 2016.

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Consumers’ favor for renting comes at a time when they’re getting a better handle on their finances. Forty-one percent of renters surveyed say they now have enough money to last beyond each payday, up from 34 percent in September. All age groups surveyed expressed an increase in financial confidence from the last survey, but it was most pronounced among baby boomers, growing from 38 percent in September to 48 percent now.

They don’t plan to switch apartments either. The number of renters who say they plan to move during the next two years dropped from 38 percent to 33 percent. Further, 55 percent of all respondents—and 60 percent of 35- to 49-year olds—say they like where they currently live and don’t plan to move, even if their rents increase.

Meanwhile, the percentage of renters who say they expect to own dropped to 41 percent from 45 percent in September.

Source: “Profile of Today’s Renter/Multifamily Renter Research,” Freddie Mac (March 2017)