Americans still reeling from the housing crash are increasingly willing to embrace renting as an alternative to homeownership, a recent housing attitudes survey found.
The survey found that 57% of those surveyed, including renters and homeowners, say buying has become less appealing while 54% say renting has become more appealing.
Seven in 10 renters said they aspire to own a home someday, and 45% of homeowners said they can see themselves renting at some point in the future.
The foundation says the findings reflect "post-housing crisis realism" about the value of owning a home and the risks that can come with it.
"Across the board, we see a chipping away of that old stigma that's been associated with renting," said Rebecca Naser, senior vice president of the firm that conducted the survey.
The findings may have implications for U.S. housing policy. Told "more people at different stages of life are choosing to rent," 65% of respondents said the focus on the national housing policy should be split evenly between rental housing and homeownership.
And 61% said renters "can be just as successful as owners at achieving the American Dream."
The findings reflect not just the economic toll of the Great Recessions, but also shifts in lifestyle choices.
"More people are renting than in the past, and that has to do with factors other than what's happened in the economy," she said, adding, "I think it is likely to be accelerated because of the moment in time we're in." People value their free time and spontaneity. Not everyone wants to be tied down to yard work and repairs on the weekends.
The nation's homeownership has fallen to 65.4% at the end of 2012 from a peak of 69.2% in 2004. Some owners were ejected from their homes in foreclosure, while the transition from renting to buying has slowed.
Additionally, the survey found that few Americans believe the housing crisis is over. Despite recent improvement in the housing market, 58 percent believe the nation is "still in the middle of it" while 19% believe "the worst is yet to come." Renters were slightly more pessimistic than homeowners.
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