Freddie Mac's survey published earlier this year, titled "Profile of Today's Renter Multifamily Renter Research March 2015," seems to be telling us that renting is becoming more respected than in the past. There are comparisons with the same report a year earlier. Here is the statement of methodology from the Freddie Mac report:
The 2015 survey was conducted online within the United States between March 26-30, 2015 among 2,030 adults (aged 18 and over), among which 646 were renters, by Harris Poll on behalf of Freddie Mac via its QuickQuery omnibus product. The 2014 survey was conducted online within the United States between August 7-11, 2014 among 2,044 adults (ages 18 and older), among which 672 were renters, by Harris Poll on behalf of Freddie Mac via its QuickQuery omnibus product.
Let's go through some of the survey questions and the responses, as they tell us a lot about current attitudes about home ownership versus renting and about perceptions of the economy and the respondents' financial situations.
How much, if at all, has the rent for your current home changed in the past 2 years?
Increased - 38%
Decreased - 6%
Stayed the same - 56%
Given the recent changes in your rent, please indicate how much you agree or disagree with each statement regarding what, if any, changes you have had to make or how this change has impacted you.
Percentages for those who agreed or strongly agreed with each statement:
• Need to move into a smaller rental property - 70%
• Considering/gotten a roommate - 61%
• Like where I live, but can no longer afford the rent - 53%
• Like to buy a home and started looking - 51%
• Like where I live and will stay regardless of rent changes - 47%
• Spending less on other essentials - 46%
• Now have to put off plans to purchase a home - 44%
• No changes to spending or plans - 31%
• Spending less on non-essentials - 28%
• Like to buy but cannot afford to at this point - 28%
The list below contains some views people have about renting. Please indicate how much you agree or disagree with each statement. Responses are percentage who agree or strongly agree.
They Like: 2014 2015
Freedom from home maintenance responsibilities 78% 84%
More flexibility over where you live 68% 80%
Protection against declines in home prices 66% 72%
The list below contains some views people have about renting. Please indicate how much you agree or disagree with each statement. Percentage who agree or strongly agree.
(Age 18 to 34) Generation X
(Age 35-49) Baby Boomers
Freedom from home maintenance responsibilities 75% 86% 92%
More flexibility over where you live 79% 78% 83%
Protection against declines in home prices 71% 70% 79%
It's hard to see any strong desire to buy a home among most of these surveyed tenants. We also see a marked increase in satisfaction with the perceived benefits of renting versus owning from 2014 to 2015.
Basically, we see that there is a lot of satisfaction with the rental lifestyle among current renters. Even if they aren't happy renting, they are indicating that they'll be renting for the foreseeable future. And, as their age increases, they are more satisfied with renting by age group.
It looks like renting is gaining in popularity, even if it's due to economic factors rather than lifestyle.