What the data shows
New survey data from Apartment List shows that in 2022, 24.7% of millennials said they plan to “always rent” rather than buy a house. That’s nearly double the portion that said the same in 2018 (13.3%). Apartment List defines “millennials” as those born between 1981 and 1996.
Here are the reasons 2022’s survey respondents gave for their decision to rent forever:
- 74% said they cannot afford to buy a home right now
- 42% said they like the flexibility of renting
- 36% said they prefer to avoid home maintenance and other extra costs
- 29% said buying a home is financially risky
What the experts say
Apartment List senior research associate Rob Warnock summed up the financial challenges aspiring young homeowners face like this: “For millennial renters who could not afford to buy a home in the earliest stages of the pandemic, homeownership opportunities waned dramatically in the years that followed,” he wrote in a blog post. “Mortgage rates spiked, bringing modest relief to list prices but pushing monthly ownership costs even higher.”
Keep in mind
Just last year, the number of millennial homeowners eclipsed the number of millennial renters, meaning that more than half of the generation now owns a home.
That milestone came more slowly for millennials than it did for previous generations. A recent report from apartment search site RentCafe found that millennials became an owner-majority generation when the average member was 34 years old, compared to an average age of 32 for Gen X and 33 for Baby Boomers.