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Fannie Mae survey finds traditional homeownership changing

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The changing demographic of U.S. households is changing the traditional patterns of homeownership throughout the country, according to a Fannie Mae survey released Thursday. Although 51% of survey respondents said the housing crisis has not affected their overall willingness to buy a home, 33% said they would be more likely to rent their next home than buy. In January, 30% of Americans surveyed said they would rent a home the next time around. Overall, 89% of homeowners, as well as 49% of renters, feel they would be better off owning a home in the current economy. However, Fannie Mae found that the homeownership rate among young adults (ages 25 to 29) decreased 11% "since peak rates" before the housing crisis. Married couples are the most likely to own a home. However, Fannie Mae said that portion of the population is increasingly shrinking — down to 50% of households in 2009 from 56% in 1990. The survey found that 58% of single-mothers rent. Seventy-eight percent of survey respondents cited children as a major reason to own a home. "The percentage of families with children is declining overall, and reached an all-time low of 45% in 2009," Fannie Mae said. Fifty-seven percent of Americans said that financial benefits were the best reason to rent, and 29% said lifestyle benefits were the biggest perk to renting. The oldest demographic considered in the survey, ages 50 and older, haven't changed their sentiment or trends concerning homeownership much in recent years. This group is more likely to believe they are better off owning than renting than any other age group, and are increasingly able to realize homeownership aspirations as they age, the survey said. A person ages 65 to 74 is 3.5 times more likely to own a home than a person under 25. Write to Christine Ricciardi.

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