One-fourth of renters will never buy a home: survey

NEW YORK Wed Aug 18, 2010 1:29pm EDT

A sign at an apartment building in Los Angeles advertising a two-bedroom apartment for rent is pictured March 19, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

A sign at an apartment building in Los Angeles advertising a two-bedroom apartment for rent is pictured March 19, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Fred Prouser

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - More than a quarter of Americans currently renting houses and apartments have no intention to ever buy a home, according to a survey published on Wednesday.

The survey, by real estate search site Trulia.com, found 27 percent of renters do not plan to ever buy a home. Although 72 percent still expect to buy eventually, that proportion is down from 77 percent six months ago.

Of those who do hope to become homeowners, two-thirds say they will wait two years or more.

This reluctance to buy could drag out the real estate market's slump longer than many have predicted, Trulia said.

"Renters converting into buyers are crucial to turning around the housing slump, but the current economic crisis is causing people to become very hesitant to get off the fence and buy a home," said Trulia Chief Executive Officer Pete Flint.

Among the factors affecting sentiment: Renters are unable to save for a down payment, or they are waiting to get a new job or for mortgage rates to go even lower.

U.S. home loan rates are the lowest since record-keeping began in 1971. The average 30-year rate fell to 4.44 percent in the week ended August 12, according to loan company Freddie Mac.

U.S. mortgage applications leaped last week as the rock-bottom rates lifted demand for home refinancing loans to its highest level in 15 months, the Mortgage Bankers Association said on Wednesday.

Trulia's online survey of about 2,000 Americans was conducted by Harris Interactive in late July.

(Reporting by Nick Zieminski; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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Comments (31)
bluepat1982 wrote:
I just short sold my home (my primary residence, not a speculative investment), and I’ll never buy one again – unless I can pay it off in full.

Let’s see if housing prices fall that far. I think they will have to.

Aug 18, 2010 2:18pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
stefisoros wrote:
Given how overpriced homeowning was and still is, I’m surprised the number of life-long renters is not higher.

Aug 18, 2010 2:36pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
MissRiver wrote:
I won’t ever buy a house, unless I hit the lottery big or something. When I look at what the owners are responsible for paying for in addition to the crippling mortgages, I am perfectly happy in my apartment. If something break or leaks I can just call maintenance. The complex pays for the landscaping, we have a couple of pools and a couple of gyms on the property, and my apartment even has a fireplace and is a pet-friendly community.

Now what was buying a house supposed to do for me?

Oh, equity. Right.

Aug 18, 2010 2:44pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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