The Buy/Rent Scale is Tipping

In a new national opinion survey from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation it was found that attitudes are shifting in the ‘is it better to buy or rent’ debate.  

“America is going through a transformational period,” says Peter Hart, chairman emeritus of Hart Research, which conducted the survey on behalf of the foundation. “The unexpected is becoming the expected... [and] housing attitudes are indeed part of this new transformational world.”

The full report can be found here: "How Housing Matters: Americans’ Attitudes Transformed By The Housing Crisis & Changing Lifestyles." The highlights are as follows:

72% of all renters aspire to own a home and 84% of all renters under the age of 40 aspire to own a home. Please note the word ‘aspire’. This makes it tricky to know how many of those surveyed are going to actively pursue the aspiration versus allow home ownership to remain a distant goal.

Over half of those surveyed open said that their homeowner confidence is negatively impacted by the current economic environment. Buying a home has become less appealing to 25% of those interviewed. This is a divergent trend as compared to what we have seen in the past year or so. On the other side, around that same percentage have felt an increased confidence since the economy has continued to improve.

“There’s a tendency for people to view attitudes about home ownership and renting like it’s a zero-sum game,” Naser said. “[But] you can still aspire to owning a home and see renting in your future... People are being more methodical and careful in the housing choices they’re making.”

Since Americans have seen the housing market crumble, that is a very real and very recent reality they place a lot of credence in. These same Americans have not seen or felt the turnaround. They are living cautiously on a day-to-day basis and until the hot market is felt on that individual level, the real estate recovery will not be persuasive enough to push people over that ‘aspiring edge.’

Related Content: 

Did the Housing Crash Affect Home Ownership Views?

Home Ownership and the American Dream

Remaking the Dream

Is the Housing Crisis Over?

Comment balloon 2 commentsJenifer Lower • April 24 2013 12:55PM


Wow, people are starting to realize that the home you live in should not be treated as just an investment you can make money on. With rising interest rates and rising home prices, I think there are more and more people being priced right out of home ownership, so they can only aspire to own a home.

Posted by Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807, Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor (Good Company Real Estate almost 7 years ago

Great information. Thanks again for sharing. Have a terrific holiday.

Posted by David Saks ((retired)) over 6 years ago