Wednesday, October 28, 2015

How Many Renters Want to Buy?

The number of renter-occupied homes grew by more than 1.3 million in the past year, according to the Census Bureau's Housing Vacancy Survey, while the number of owner-occupied homes inched up by just 123,000. From the third quarter of 2014 to the third quarter of 2015, the nation's homeownership rate fell from 64.4 to 63.7 percent.

Clearly the number of renters is surging, which begs the question: how many of those renters are wannabe homeowners who could potentially energize the housing market? Shedding some light on that question is the Federal Reserve Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking, fielded in 2013 and 2014. The survey asked renters why they rent. In 2013, 10 percent of renters identified themselves as wannabe homeowners, looking to buy a house. When the Feds surveyed the same respondents in 2014, one-third of the renters who wanted to buy had become homeowners. Among renters who had not expressed a desire to buy, only 3 percent had bought a home.

Source: Federal Reserve Board, Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2014

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