Real Estate’s Pursuit of Happiness: American Homeownership

Posted on | December 19, 2018

The American Dream – marriage, children, a well-paying and satisfying job, and a white picket fence with a golden retriever lounging in the yard.

That may have been (and still may be to some) the definition for many Americans in the past. But it seems as though the idea of a white picket fence may be changing.

Zumper, a rental listing site, partnered with PadMapper to launch its Annual Rental Survey to measure how Americans feel about renting – and as we approach the end of 2018, it can help the real estate market predict what 2019 might look like in terms of buying or renting.

The survey showed that 33% of surveyors said that they no longer believed homeownership was a key element in the American Dream. Having raised a percentage point since last year might not seem like much, but it’s steadily been rising year after year since 2016.

Since homeownership might not be an ultimate goal for some, what causes the shift from renting to owning?

Zumper’s report illustrated that for most American renters, the switch focused on three main elements: financial situation, mortgage rates, and family size.

Dough Ressler from Yardi Matrix, a commercial real estate research platform, explains that “student loan debt, smaller household sizes, larger down payment requirements, and rising interest rates are all contributing to this change.”

While this can easily be pinpointed as a generational change, it’s intriguing to note how Americans gauge their goals and priorities.

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