Forty-eight percent of renters worry they won’t be able to buy a home during their lifetimes, according to a new Lending Tree survey.
That concern is largest among renters in Generation X (41 to 55 years old) and millennials (25 to 40 years old). To that point, 55% of Gen X renters and 52% of millennial renters are worried about their prospects of homeownership, according to the survey, which was published Aug. 31.
“People in the midst of their careers, especially Gen Xers in their peak earning years, are thinking, ‘If I haven’t bought a house at this point, it’s probably not going to happen,” said Jacob Channel, a senior economic analyst at Lending Tree.
The sentiment is concerning since homeownership represents a large source of wealth for the average family, Channel said.
“What they’ve been seeing for a while now, especially [during] the pandemic, is home prices rising really, really fast and wages not necessarily keeping up,” Channel said of renters.
The U.S. middle class depends on home equity as a source of wealth more so than wealthy families, who tend to own more financial assets like stocks and bonds, according to the Pew Research Center.
Americans held $34 trillion in real estate assets in the first quarter of 2021, or about 23% of total household assets, according to Federal Reserve data. Households also had $11 trillion in total home mortgage liabilities.
Lending Tree’s online survey polled 2,050 U.S. consumers from Aug. 2 to 6. The firm hasn’t conducted this survey annually, making it difficult to compare homeownership sentiment in past years.