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Renters struggle with affordability, but content with housing

By: Kelly Leighton on in

Despite rising rents, many renters report they believe that renting is more affordable than purchasing a home.

According to Freddie Mac Multifamily, 78 percent of renters surveyed said they think renting is less expensive than owning, an increase of 11 percent from February’s survey. Across generations, millennials, Generation X and baby boomers all saw increases in this belief, with millennials hitting 75 percent, Generation X reaching 70 percent and baby boomers rising to 81 percent.

“Views of renting as the more affordable option continue to drive the behavior and satisfaction of a large and growing majority of renters,” said David Brickman, president of Freddie Mac and Head of Multifamily. “While renting is seen as more affordable, this research underscores that renters are feeling the effects of the rising cost of housing, driven in part by lack of supply, increased demand and the cost of construction.”

However, two-thirds of renters said that they have struggled to pay their rent at some point in the past 24 months. And those renters who have employment in what is considered an essential workplace, such as health care, had “significant” difficulty affording rent, according to 88 percent. And 51 percent of renters said this has impacted how they spend on food and other essentials, while 50 percent reported it had an effect on their savings. Sixty-four percent reported it impacted their spending on non-essential items.

Overall though, nearly two-thirds of renters said they are satisfied with their housing, and 58 percent reported that renting continues to be a good choice for them. Of current renters, 66 percent plan to continue to rent.

Rent Prices Shift as 2020 Winds Down

“These numbers reflect an emphasis on either studio or two-bedroom units in bigger cities and potentially more interest in smaller cities overall,” said Kelli Francis, senior content strategist for Apartment Guide. “We believe it’s possible that single renters in big cities may be looking to downsize or take on roommates, and that more people may be considering life outside of big cities.”

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