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Survey Finds 76 Percent of Consumers Believe Renting to be a Better Option than Homeownership

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RISMEDIA, June 3, 2010—A new online survey commissioned by the National Apartment Association conducted in May 2010 finds 76% of consumers deem renting to be the more favorable option to owning a home in the current real estate market, a 5% increase from 2008.

The survey also found that both renters and homeowners are not eager to make any changes in their housing status within the next year, demonstrating low consumer confidence and continued uncertainty in the housing market.

“While some may want to declare the housing crisis over, consumer patterns of behavior are showing otherwise,” said National Apartment Association (NAA) President Douglas Culkin. “The findings in this survey mirror what our members are seeing throughout the country, especially in areas of the country that are experiencing the first signs of economic recovery.”

The independent survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults, conducted by leading market research firm Harris Interactive, also finds an increase from a 2008 survey in the number of adults noting the additional burden of major home repairs or maintenance as a primary benefit of renting a home vs. owning, 64% in 2010 compared to 57% in 2008.

“The simple fact remains that in a bad economy, people must make whatever changes necessary to improve their situation, especially if they have lost their job,” Culkin said. “Sometimes this might mean moving to another city where there is more opportunity, and if you’re tied to a mortgage, you don’t have the same ease of mobility as you do if you lease your home.”

Key findings in the National Apartment Association survey include:

Leasing rental property perceived as more favorable to holding a mortgage. Seventy-six percent of adults feel that there are advantages to renting vs. owning in the current real estate market, an increase of 5% from 2008. Sixty-four percent cited having no responsibility for major repairs or maintenance as the primary reason, followed by 50% who cited financial reasons such as not being impacted by an unpredictable real estate market (33%–an increase of 1% from 2008), and not being susceptible to foreclosure (tied at 33%).

Renters are not eager to make a change this year. Sixty percent of renters plan to continue renting their current residence or rent new residences within the next year. Twelve percent of renters said they have plans to buy a new home this year and only 14% believe that buying a house is preferable to renting given the current state of the market.

Homeowners tied down and staying put. Seventy-one percent of homeowners will stay in their current home over the next year, mirroring almost exactly the response from 2008 (72%).

Adults continue to experience economic backlash from the foreclosure crisis. Ninety-three percent of adults feel that the financial security of homeowners is more or equally affected by the current state of the housing market–no change from 2008–illustrating that the economic impact of the foreclosure crisis has not shifted or improved.

“The results are yet to be seen if the tax credit incentives worked, but the larger issue remains that pushing the idea of homeownership as the only way to achieve the American Dream is not a viable strategy for the future,” Culkin said.

For more information, visit www.naahq.org.

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