Youngest homeowners least satisfied with homeownership
If you're a dissatisfied homeowner, chances are you're young.
That's the takeaway from real estate search site HomeGain's latest survey, which asked Americans whether they were happy with homeownership.
Least happy are homeowners in the 18-to-25 crowd. That's the only age group where more than half (55 percent) said they're not satisfied with homeownership. The share of satisfied homeowners goes up from there almost in lockstep with age. (Slightly more 26-to-35-year-olds are satisfied than 36-to-45-year-olds, though it rounds to two-thirds in each case.)
Those most likely to be satisfied are 55-plus, people who are also the most likely to have lived in their homes the longest and -- assuming they didn't pull a lot of equity out during the bubble years -- to owe little or nothing on a mortgage. So it makes sense, just as it's understandable that young homeowners who have seen nothing but depreciation aren't wild about the idea.
But here's something surprising:
Setting aside age and just looking at the length of time someone has owned their home, the group with the highest share of satisfaction isn't the one with the longest-term owners. It's the shortest.
Eighty-four percent of people who bought in the last one to two years say they're satisfied with homeownership. That easily beats the No. 2 group -- people who bought 12 or more years ago, 79 percent of whom are satisfied. (How is it that most recent buyers are happy but less than half the 18-to-25-year-olds are, you might ask? My best guess is they represent a small portion of the total -- the prime buying years come later.)
Not at all surprising is that people who bought five to eight years ago, between 2004 and 2007, are the least likely to be satisfied, with 59 percent giving homeownership a thumbs up and the rest blowing a raspberry (metaphorically speaking). They bought at or near the height of the bubble and are almost certainly underwater on their mortgages unless they made big downpayments.
Loss of value wasn't cited as the main reason for everyone who wasn't satisfied with homeownership, but it's the common thread -- and it's especially typical for younger folks. Two-thirds of dissatisfied 18-to-25-year-olds said price depreciation is the primary reason.
Homeowners who are 65 or older were most likely to give other reasons, such as concerns about maintenance. Still, nearly six in 10 of dissatisfied homeowners in that age group pointed to price depreciation first.
The survey includes some of the surveyed homeowners' comments about why they like or dislike homeownership. What are your reasons, homeowners? If you're a renter, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the arrangement?