It appears that people who are currently renting their homes are not necessarily merely homebuyers in waiting as conventional wisdom has held.  Freddie Mac said its recent research shows that 55 percent of renters have no plans to buy in the next three years.  Renters are overall fairly satisfied with their rental experience the company says, and it is those who are dissatisfied who are most likely to be being driven toward wanting to buy.  In the U.S. about 15 million households rent a single-family house and 25 million rent an apartment, according to U.S. Census Data.

In the third of an anticipated series of quarterly surveys Freddie Mac commissioned Harris Poll to question more than 2,000 U.S. adults online about their perceptions regarding renting. The most recent survey was conducted between June 19-23, 2015 and included 2,024 adults, 727 of whom were renters.  Similar surveys were conducted in August 2014 and last March.

Less than one-third of those surveyed said they were dissatisfied with their rental experience with the remainder almost evenly divided between those who said they were very satisfied and those who expressed moderate satisfaction.   However satisfaction was more prevalent among apartment dwellers than those renting single family homes.  Sixty-seven percent of the former expressed a degree of satisfaction compared to 60 percent of single family renters.



This satisfaction may be a factor in deciding to buy.  Renters who are most satisfied with their rental experience are more likely to continue renting (68 percent) than to purchase a home (32 percent).  The degree of satisfaction and dissatisfaction exactly mirrors the desire to remain a renter or buy.



"As we gather data each quarter, we are finding the old perception that renting is something people do until they buy is not always true. The trend shows that satisfied renters are more likely to continue renting, even as we are seeing rising rents in the market," said David Brickman, executive vice president of Freddie Mac Multifamily. "Dissatisfaction may drive renters to buy, and we are seeing a slight decrease in satisfaction among single-family renters. We will continue to monitor this for stronger indicators and trends, but for now, the single-family rental home market may be a good place to look to find potential home buyers."

Rent increases also appear to be a motivation for buying a home.  Forty-four percent of renters who have lived in their home for two years or more say they have had their rent increase in the last two years, two percentage points more than in the March survey.  Of those who experienced a rent increase, 70 percent agreed that they would like to buy a home but cannot afford to do so at this point while 44 percent indicate they'd like to buy a home and have started looking. Forty-nine percent say they like where they live and will stay regardless of rent increases, a slight increase in this response from March.

Renters cite as the top favorable factors for renting the freedom from home maintenance, more flexibility over where you live and protection against declines in home prices. These choices changed little among the three surveys and are similar across age groups.



Despite rent increases 55 percent of renters say they are not changing their current spending plans and 49 percent plan on staying put in their current housing. Of those who are making rent increase-driven changes, 51 percent are spending less on essentials, 29 percent are contemplating getting a roommate and 20 percent say they need to move into a smaller rental property.

Brickman added, "The number of U.S. renter households is up again for the tenth straight year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. More households of all sizes, income levels and age ranges now rent their homes. Renters are leading household formations, which are expected to keep climbing due to the improving economy, Millennials continuing into adulthood and immigration."