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Trulia Survey: “Renter Nation” Just A Myth As 93 Percent Of Millennial Renters Plan To Buy A Home

Trulia today released the results of its American Dream survey, which has tracked American attitudes towards homeownership since 2008. Harris Interactive conducted this online survey on behalf of Trulia among 2,083 U.S. adults, age 18 and over, between November 15 to 19, 2012.

Americans More Bullish on Buying Homes

Amid rising home prices, increasing home sales, and falling delinquencies and foreclosures, more than 1 in 4 consumers (27 percent) feel more positive about homeownership than they were six months ago, compared with 19 percent who report feeling more negative. In fact, 31 percent of today’s renters plan to buy a home in the next two years—a 9-point increase from 22 percent in January 2011. However, some Americans remain skeptical about owning a home. Only 72 percent of consumers said homeownership is part of their personal American Dream, which remains below February 2009 and January 2010, when 76 percent and 77 percent, respectively, agreed with this sentiment.
% of renters planning to buy a home within next two years
January 2011   22%
May 2012   28%
November 2012   31%

Millennials: Battered By Housing Bust, But Not Permanently Scarred

Despite coming of age through the years of boom and bust, Millennials (18-34 year olds) haven’t completely written off homeownership. In fact, 72 percent of these young adults say homeownership is part of their personal American Dream, which is the same as the adult population overall. Among renters in this age group, 93 percent plan to purchase a home some day. Meanwhile 43 percent of young adults are homeowners already. Yet despite these long-term aspirations, Millennials have vastly different expectations for the housing market in 2013 than older generations.
Consumer Expectations for the Housing Market in 2013
    18-34Year Olds   35-44Year Olds   45-54Year Olds   55+Year Olds
Home prices to rise   37%   43%   49%   55%
Home prices to fall   22%   15%   19%   18%
Mortgage rates to rise   32%   38%   41%   49%
Mortgage rates to fall   20%   12%   14%   13%

Note: respondents could also answer “no change” or “not sure.”

Rising Home Prices Encouraging Homeowners to Sell in 2013

In 2012, housing inventory was down 23 percent nationally year-over-year, and down 43 percent since 2010. 1 This decrease in homes for sale has limited the options for would-be buyers. However, rising prices could trigger more sales, thereby increasing inventory, in 2013. Among current homeowners, 22 percent said they are at least somewhat likely to sell their home in the next year. This was especially true among homeowners who bought their home between 2010 and 2012, as they’re more likely to have seen their home values increase since purchase—which means they’re more likely to be able to sell at a profit.
Year Home Was Bought   2002 or earlier   2003-2006   2007-2009   2010-2012
% of homeowners at least “somewhat likely” to sell in 2013   20%   23%   20%   33%
% of homeowners whose homes are worth more today than at purchase

(Trulia Estimate)
  98%   49%   7%   72%

  • “Millennials have been shaken, not scarred by the housing bust,” said Jed Kolko, Trulia’s Chief Economist. “Nearly all of them want to own a home someday, if they’re not homeowners already. But many of them think today’s low prices and low mortgage rates will last. They may be in for sticker shock if the cost of homeownership has returned to normal levels by the time they’re ready to buy.”
  • “2013 could be the year that inventory turns around, just as 2012 was the year that prices started recovering,” said Jed Kolko, Trulia’s Chief Economist. “Homebuyers need inventory to choose from, and with fewer foreclosures on the market, new inventory will come from new construction or homeowners wanting to sell. Rising prices will bring out more sellers, especially if price increases lift them back above water. ”

  • To view the full survey results and analysis, click here.
  • To download a SlideShare on the findings and Trulia’s 2013 outlook for housing, click  here.
  • To download an infographic of the survey results, click  here.


The November 2012 survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive via its QuickQuery omnibus product on behalf of Trulia between Nov 15-19, 2012 among 2,083 U.S. adults, of whom 1,271 are homeowners and 741 are renters.

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