BofA Survey: Americans Prefer Mortgage over Rent

Most Americans prefer a mortgage payment to paying rent monthly, said Bank of America, Charlotte, N.C., in its yearly Homebuyer Insights Report.

The report said 93 percent of people who have bought a home are happier because of it, and 83 percent say they wouldn’t go back to renting. D. Steve Boland, head of Consumer Lending with Bank of America, said most credit their happiness to an emotional attachment to their home, as well as the improved lifestyle and variety of hobbies that come with owning.

“We know how much homeownership means, and we see examples every day of how owning a home gives our clients the power to build personal wealth and make memories,” Boland said. “They’ve told us very clearly that homeownership is invaluable, and that’s why we’re actively providing assistance with down payment and closing costs to help people buy homes and create a new lifestyle.”

The report said 88 percent of homeowners agree that buying a home is the best decision they have ever made, while 79 percent believe that owning a home has changed them for the better. The survey found homeownership also changes the way people spend their time, with 82 percent of homeowners reporting satisfaction with the amount of time they spend on their hobbies and passions since purchasing a home. Three of four homeowners pursued new hobbies after buying a home, including landscaping/gardening (47 percent), cooking/baking/grilling (45 percent) and interior design/remodeling (33 percent).

Beyond hobbies, two-thirds of current homeowners say their relationships with family and loved ones have changed for the better since purchasing a home, while 78 percent are satisfied with the quality of their social life–significantly higher than satisfied prospective homebuyers (58 percent). Among homeowners who feel their relationships with loved ones have changed since purchasing a home, homeownership has given families a sense of pride (47 percent); allowed homeowners to entertain more (49 percent); and enabled homeowners to bring the entire family under one roof (24 percent).

The survey also reported homeowners believe homeownership builds emotional and financial equity, but emotional value holds more weight. More than half of current homeowners define a home as a place to make memories, compared to 42 percent who view a home as a financial investment.