Consumer Research | February 11, 2020
A new Freddie Mac survey shows that affordability remains top of mind for those individuals looking to rent or purchase a home. In fact, Freddie Mac’s "Profile of Today’s Renter and Owner" shows vast majorities of both renters and homeowners believe their current living situation is the most affordable option. However, the survey illustrates that issues of affordability remain pervasive throughout these groups. In addition, the survey takes a look at the impact of the current interest rate environment on buying preferences, including a close look at the preferences of Baby Boomers in particular.
When it comes to renting, the survey finds that an unprecedented number of renters (84%) believe renting is more affordable than owning, an all-time high for the survey and up 17 percentage points from just two years ago in February 2018.
Additionally, a majority (62%) of renters continue to be satisfied with their rental experience, down slightly from 66% in 2018. In fact, 73% of renters feel that minor or no renovations should be made to their rental property—another strong sign they’re happy with their current rental.
However, while renters do feel renting is the more affordable option, the new survey does paint a concerning picture about many renters’ ability to make housing work within their family budget. Specifically:
With mortgage rates near historic lows, both renters and homeowners are interested in taking advantage of low rates in the next several months. In fact, 40% of renters plan to purchase a home given current interest rates.
Forty-six percent of owners plan to renovate their home. In addition:
In addition, Baby Boomers are the least likely to take action in the low mortgage rate environment.
As compared to other generations, Baby Boomers stood out in the survey. As owners, they are highly satisfied with their overall experience (71%) and prefer to live in a small home (61%). Similarly, Boomer renters are more satisfied (50%) with their rental experience than other generations (older Millennials 39%, Gen X 35%, younger Millennials 33%). Growing portions of Boomer renters (27%) say they will never move, as compared to Gen X (9%) and Millennials (6%). The same is true for Boomer owners, with an increasing percentage (34%) saying they will never move, as compared to 18% Gen X and 8% of Millennials.
Freddie Mac contracted with Harris Insights & Analytics to conduct the online survey over a four-day period, beginning August 22. The poll collected data from 4,012 respondents over the age of 18, including 2,715 homeowners, 1,233 renters and 64 others. The data has been weighted to reflect the composition of the U.S. adult population. Additional findings from Freddie Mac’s survey can be found here
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