American renters – including Millennials – want to own homes, but face tough barriers

It has been well reported that Millennials are commitment phobic – to jobs, to relationships, and to homeownership. Conventional thinking says even financially viable Millennials are often renters by choice because they share a different American Dream than the previous generations and they don’t want the hassle and responsibility of owning a home. But ValueInsured believes their attitudes deserve a second look.

According to ValueInsured’s Nielsen Harris Poll of 2,019 U.S. adults in fall of 2015, 90% of Millennial renters aged 18-34 surveyed said they want to one day own their own home. In a follow-up ValueInsured Modern Homebuyer Survey conducted independently by Equation Research in spring 2016, 82% of renters aged 18-34 agreed they want to buy a home (notice this was not asked in the future tense). Overall, 76% of all renters said they want to buy a home, among the 1,157 nationally represented U.S. adults surveyed.

Most renters appear to reject the notion that renting makes better financial sense. 68% of all renters surveyed – and 67% of Millennial renters – believe buying a home is more financially beneficial than renting.

Also contradicting previous assumptions, 71% of Millennial renters – and 66% of renters across all age groups – say owning a home is an important part of their American Dream.

However, renters face barriers, both financial and psychological, to homeownership. Affordability is a top barrier. Only 35% of all renters and 41% of Millennial renters believe they can afford the down payment to buy a home. In fact, almost 1 in 4 renters surveyed (23%) said they have “zero confidence” they can afford a down payment.

Confidence in the housing market is another key barrier. Only about half the renters surveyed – 47% of all renters and 50% of Millennial renters – feel confident their local housing market is healthy, compared to 63% of all Americans surveyed and 83% of all homeowners surveyed who feel the same.

Among renters who say they want to buy a home and can afford a down payment, 69% say they would buy sooner if they could have more confidence in the housing market. 3 in 4 Millennial renters (74%) say they would buy a home sooner, defying the myth that Millennials may want to be renters forever.