Freddie Mac recently released the results of two polls. One studied renter preferences and attitudes. The other focused on renter mobility. Both provided interesting insights into how renters themselves view renting. While the polls cover people who rent both multifamily and single family homes, we will focus on multifamily renters here.
The polls indicate that the vast majority of renters would like to own their own home at some point. Only 7 percent of Millennial renters say that they have no interest in ever owning a home. Among baby boomers, 35 percent feel the same way.
The higher portion of older renters wanting to remain renters may reflect the fact that most people their age who had both the desire and ability to buy homes probably already have done so and are no longer part of the renter population. It is also possible that some of the boomers who are renting are people who were owners in the past but no longer want to deal with maintaining a home. Either way, the boomers within the renter population are more likely to be hard-core renters.
Renters under pressure
When considering their finances, fully 64 percent of multifamily renters say that they either live paycheck to paycheck or that they sometimes don’t have money for basics. Almost the same percentage say that they have occasional difficulties managing their debt or that they are never able to make any progress with their debt.
Looking ahead, 66 percent of multifamily renters, but only 44 percent of single family renters, expected their next home to also be a rental home. Of all people planning to continue renting, 67 percent said that their reason for continuing to rent was financial. Only 22 percent said that they would continue to rent for lifestyle reasons.
Smaller is better
Of the multifamily renters surveyed, 59 percent currently live in a complex with less than 50 units and 41 percent live in a complex with more than 50 units. When they consider what type of property to rent next, only 27 percent of renters expect to rent a unit in a complex with more than 50 apartments. Complexes with less than 50 units are the choice of 42 percent and single family homes are preferred by 17 percent of current multifamily renters. These renters expect their next residence to be a townhouse, condo and “other” at 9 percent, 3 percent and 5 percent respectively.
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The survey showed that the willingness to move varied with the age of the renter. A clear majority of Millennials, 58 percent, said that they do not mind moving. For baby boomers, an even bigger majority, 60 percent, said that they try to avoid moving whenever possible.
The main reason people give for considering a move is upgrading their residence. Overall, 27 percent (30 percent of younger Millennials) gave this answer. The number two reason was downsizing/affordability, the reason cited by 20 percent of respondents.
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On the whole, satisfied
Finally, the poll showed that 66 percent of renters are either moderately or very satisfied with their rental experience. Multifamily renters are slightly less satisfied than single family renters and Millennials are slightly less satisfied than boomers.