Real Estate Market Shift: Homeowners are Looking to Rent

By Tom Burchnell
owning to renting

It’s the American dream, right? You get married, buy a little house, start a family and put up a picket fence, then get your kids a sweet little puppy to learn responsibility. From there, you get a raise, maybe a promotion. So you buy a bigger house, one that’s got a little more space and a little bigger mortgage payment. In decades past, this cycle was fairly predictable and standard. But what if dream wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be? Today’s economy is slowly shifting into one that makes it very compelling to go from owning to renting.

From Owning to Renting Your Home

For older generations of Americans, this absolutely was the way of life. Based on percentage, people over 40 are considerably more likely to own their homes. As people get older, they’re even more likely to own their own home (up to a point, at least. Homeownership rates begin to fall again in demographics 70 years old and older). However, the number of people who are choosing to purchase a home is falling.

Since the mid-2000s, decreases in home affordability are driving people off from what was once a given. With fewer people purchasing homes, it follows that more people are renting homes. Since 2011, rental rates have been rising by approximately 1.6% per year, making the number of renting households an astounding 46 million as of last year.

Most notably, the number of people over 35 who are renting their homes is increasing, too. That figure indicates that people are going from owning to renting, actually selling their homes in order to rent.

Why is this? The likely culprits are the housing market crash in the early 2000s. That crisis made people a lot less sure of whether their home was quite the investment they had always been told. Another cause may be that though housing prices are rising, pay rates aren’t rising fast enough to keep up. Our culture today puts more emphasis on getting out of debt or not getting into it in the first place, as well. It’s become a chic idea to ditch the credit cards and unwieldy loans, allowing middle-class people in that middle-aged demographic to feel less obligated to purchase a home.

If they already own a home but are looking to shed the responsibilities that go along with homeownership and become renters, there’s a way that the estimated million homeowners turned renters over the next four years could have their cake and eat it too, and that’s probably music to their ears. They could skip out on the hassles of homeownership and become renters, all without packing a single box or changing their address.

Sale-Leaseback Programs

A residential sale-leaseback agreement is perfect for those who want to go from owning to renting. The homeowner sells their home, but with a lease agreement stating that they can continue living there, renting the home at fair market value instead of owning it.

Who Else Might Benefit From a Sale-Leaseback?

Another demographic for whom a sale-leaseback might work is reverse mortgage or home equity loan applicants who were turned down for those programs. It works for people who need access to the equity in their home, too, and it’s certainly a viable alternative for anyone shot down for either of those loan programs. Whatever your situation, if owning your own home has become more of a burden than it’s worth, but you don’t want to move, a sale-leaseback could be an option worth exploring.

Key Takeaways

While owning a home was the way to go for generations, the times are changing and people’s priorities are shifting. If you are one of the many Americans who own a home but are finding it to be more of a curse than a blessing, exploring a sale-leaseback program may be the answer for you. Talk to your real estate agent or financial advisor to decide if a sale-leaseback could be right for you and your needs and to see if going from owning to renting makes sense for you.

Sell & Stay
Tom Burchnell
Written by Tom Burchnell
Director of Product Marketing

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