Why aren’t more renters becoming homeowners?

Julie C. Nichols General

HousingWire – Trey Garrison

The main factors preventing renters from becoming owners are weak balance sheets, low income, and lack of access to credit. Some cite inherent advantages of being a renter, but notably few say that they do not want to own because they are concerned that house prices might fall. Recent activity in the U.S. housing market has been widely perceived as disappointing. For instance, sales of both new and existing homes were about 5 percent lower over the first half of 2014 than over the first half of 2013. From a longer-term perspective, a striking statistic is that the homeownership rate in the United States has fallen from 69% in 2005 to 65% in the first quarter of 2014. This decrease in homeownership is particularly pronounced for younger households, implying that many of them are remaining renters for longer than in the past. In this post, we use survey evidence to shed some light on what is driving this sluggish transition from renting to homeownership.

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