Report: Americans Are Renting by Choice

As 41% of renters say their “American dream” has nothing to do with homeownership, an increasing number of Americans are placing higher value on renting than owning a home. One in 5 (20%) expect to be lifelong renters, a 33% increase from 2021, according to Entrata’s The New American Dream report.

Because renting offers flexibility and freedom, 66% of renters say renting fits their current lifestyle more than owning a home, 23% of renters like the location flexibility renting gives them, and 17% like the financial flexibility of not being tied to a mortgage.

“Today’s apartment residents are reshaping the traditional American dream to fit what’s most important to them, including flexibility, prime amenities offered in their communities, and the ability to live life on their terms,” says Entrata CEO Adam Edmunds.

“Many renters no longer see the need to be tied to a home and a mortgage when apartment communities provide everything they need. Experiences seem to be at the core of the new American dream, and renters are making the most of them,” he adds.

Against common notions that renters can’t buy a house, Entrata found that renters are well established and confident in their professional position, with 33% saying they could afford a home that meets their needs in 2024. Additionally, a quarter of renters with a strong credit score (higher than 750) never want to stop renting.

The report highlights that 46% of renters also have the financial means to pursue their hobbies. Professionally, 65% are happy with the direction of their career, 73% see a path to pursuing their career goals, and 35% say being a renter gives them more career opportunities than being a homeowner. Most renters (63%) even feel they have a similar or better quality of life than their parents at a similar age.

Instead of saving for a home, renters are prioritizing other financial goals like paying off debts (56%) and preferring to have savings in investments and retirement (43%). Of the renters surveyed, 36% prefer to invest in retirement than save for a home. Almost three-quarters (74%) of renters spend their discretionary money on experiences like travel, dining, and entertainment, the report notes.

In addition to enjoying flexibility, renters are embracing their homes by gathering with neighbors, friends, and family within their apartment community. Renters have been able to use communal spaces for social gatherings (40%), and 29% say they’d be interested in spending time with friends in community space at their apartment at least once a month. Over 30% report having friends or family visit at least once a month.

While being part of the apartment setting, 67% of renters say they have helped neighbors and 61% have had neighbors help them. Over half (51%) of renters say they enjoy the community aspect of living in an apartment, the report found.

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