The No. 1 thing Americans hate about their homes
Almost half of Americans have a regret about their current home.
Their No. 1 regret? Homeowners regretted not opting for a larger home (33%) and renters regretted renting instead of buying a home (41%), according to a survey released Thursday of more than 2,200 people from real-estate site Trulia and conducted online by Harris Poll. Overall, Americans are less regretful now than they were in 2013, the last time the survey was conducted, but only a slight drop to 44% from 46%. Renting over buying and choosing a smaller home were the top concerns for renters and homeowners in 2013, perhaps reflecting that many U.S. homebuyers would like to buy a larger home.
Now may not be the right time to try and amend those issues, though. Home prices are mostly to blame. About 62% of survey participants said they believed housing costs became at least “somewhat less affordable” since 2012, 26% of which said it is “much less affordable.” Another 26% of respondents who have an annual household income of $ 100,000 or more said they didn’t think they could afford to buy a home in the current market.
Still, though American homes are growing in size. The average American home was 2,720 square feet in 2015, up from 2,660 in 2014 and about 1,000 square feet larger than in 1973. And yet some homeowners would rather downsize than supersize their homes, likely because of the large expenses attached.
Tiny houses, which usually are no bigger than 400 sq. ft., are also becoming popular for retirees and younger generations who are focused on their budgets and saving the environment. There’s some consolation for those who regret not living in bigger digs. The larger the home, the more property tax a homeowner pays. In 2016, Americans paid almost $ 300 billion in property taxes.
See: These famous TV characters could not afford their rent in New York today
Both renting and home buying has become more expensive in recent years, as the housing market recovers from the 2008 financial crisis. Availability is lacking, causing a surge in pricing and competition for those looking for a new place to live. Americans spent $ 478.5 billion on rent in 2016, up 3.8% since 2015, according to real estate site Zillow Z, +3.56% . Millennials, many of whom rent because they want the flexibility or because they can’t afford the down payment, are likely to need a roommate to keep costs bearable. Having a roommate can save a renter an average of 14% of his or her income.
Buying a home is also getting more expensive, and homebuying isn’t for everyone, but it can be the cheaper alternative at least in all but eight states — Hawaii, Montana, Utah, Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming, Delaware and Oregon, as well as the District of Columbia. Of course, there are more factors to consider than simply the price of the home itself, such as monthly mortgage payments, interest rates, closing and agent fees and the need for emergency savings for possible repairs and maintenance.
See also: The seeds of the next housing crisis have already been planted
Not choosing a bigger home may be a regret for many, but it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Millennials in the Trulia survey were twice as likely than older Americans (17% versus 7%) to say they wished they were more financially secure before choosing their home. More than half of Americans have had to make a major sacrifice to pay for their rent or mortgage, such as getting a second job, deferring saving for retirement and cutting back on health care, in the last three years, according to a survey by nonprofit John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation found.