When It Comes To Housing Costs, Renters Worry More Than Homeowners

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April 27, 2016

It is said that worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere. If that’s the case, renters are rocking away, as just under half of them (49 percent) worry about not being able to pay rent or other housing costs. That is compared to just 25 percent of homeowners who worry about not being able to pay their mortgage and other housing costs, according to Gallup’s 2013-2016 Economy and Personal Finance surveys.

For both renters and homeowners, those with lower incomes tend to worry more (63 percent of renters and 47 percent of homeowners) but at every income level there is about a 15-point gap in worry between homeowners and renters. Even for those making $75,000 or more per year, 29 percent of renters still worried about being able to afford their housing costs while only 15 percent of homeowners in this income level were worried.

Part of the reason why homeowners worry less is because their housing payments are more stable. Principal and interest payments on a mortgage are typically fixed and there are only minor increases in property taxes and insurance on a year-to-year basis, whereas renters are much more likely to experience much higher year-to-year rent increases. While rent payments reflect current real estate market conditions and adjust accordingly, mortgage payments reflect home values at the time the home was purchased.

Compared to 2001 to 2007, there is currently a higher share of both renters and homeowners across all income levels that are worried about paying their housing costs. However, the share of renters and homeowners that are worried has decreased slightly since the housing bust years.

For the full report and for accompanying charts and graphs, click the link below.

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