48% of renters worry they won’t ever be able to buy a home, survey finds

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.

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“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.

(With inputs from CNBC)