Room for improvement: Renters are less happy, more stressed than homeowners

Posted: 17 December 2021 3:18 pm
News
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Owning your own home could be the key to happiness, according to new research by Finder.

According to Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker, a nationally representative survey of more than 30,000 respondents, those who rent report lower levels of happiness and higher levels of money stress than homeowners.

On average, 83% of homeowners report being happy, compared to 69% of renters.

A concerning 26% of renters admit they are "extremely stressed" with their financial situation, compared to 15% of homeowners.

Sarah Megginson, senior editor of money at Finder, said the data is worrying.

"We know mortgage stress is a real thing, but our research shows renters are struggling the most.

"Renting itself doesn't make people stressed or unhappy. Owning a home is correlated with a higher income and cash position, which is leading to higher rates of happiness and financial wellbeing to a certain extent.

"Renters are more likely to be students, young people starting their careers, or those on lower incomes, which can make it difficult to get into the housing market."

Finder's research shows homeowners save nearly twice as much money per month ($989) as renters ($516).

With credit cards, renters will take just over 9 months to pay off their debt – notably higher than the 5 months it will take for homeowners.

Megginson said there are longer-term impacts of being unable to save.

"Being in a tricky financial position can mean struggling to pay for bills today, but it also prevents you from investing in your future."

Finder's analysis found homeowners have 6 times more money invested in shares ($24,732) than renters ($3,762) on average.

Megginson said it wasn't all doom and gloom for renters.

"It is absolutely possible to save for a house deposit while renting, as long as you're smart about your money where it counts.

"Your rent is most likely your biggest expense, so moving to a cheaper suburb or finding a few housemates could help you bring down the cost.

"If you have enough saved up, you could also look at 'rentvesting' – renting a home for yourself while owning a more affordable investment property.

"You could also look at buying in partnership with friends to get your foot on the property ladder – just know sharing finances can be tricky," Megginson said.

RentersHomeowners
Percentage who are happy69%83%
Average amount in cash savings$13,951$40,854
Average amount saved per month$516$989
Percentage who are extremely stressed about their financial situation26%15%
Percentage who struggle to pay their rent/home loan31%22%
Percentage who feel secure in their job61%67%
Time needed to pay off credit card debt (months)9.15.2
Percentage who have paid BNPL late fees in the past 6 months9%5%
Percentage who have paid mobile phone bill late fees in the past 6 months9%3%
Average amount invested in shares$3,762$24,732
Percentage who own cryptocurrency17%20%
Percentage who are concerned about their carbon footprint69%63%
Source: Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker

Methodology

  • Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker is a monthly recurring nationally representative survey of more than 30,000 respondents.
  • The Consumer Sentiment Tracker is owned by Finder and operated by Qualtrics, an SAP company.
  • The survey has been running monthly since May 2019.

For more information on how renters and homeowners compare when it comes to happiness, wealth and financial wellbeing, visit Finder's renters vs homeowners guide.

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