That's a 60 percent increase among those potential homebuyers in the past year, PulteGroup reports. "We're definitely seeing a renewed sense of optimism," said PulteGroup spokeswoman Jacque Petroulakis.
The PulteGroup survey's results fit other findings in 2012 that bode well for home prices and sales in 2013, according to Jed Kolko, chief economist of listing service Trulia.
Kolko attributes the reported rise in renters' interest in homebuying to an improved economy, which has helped potential buyers save for down payments, as well as to rising home prices, which have bolstered consumer confidence in the housing market. A Trulia survey conducted in 2012 also showed a significant increase in renters who intend to buy, he said.
The top reasons renters polled in the survey cited for wanting to buy in the near future were:
• They like being able to call themselves homeowners (49 percent).
• They view it as a good financial investment (44 percent).
• They need more space for their family/children (36 percent).
The PulteGroup survey also found that, compared to two years ago, twice as many homeowners now expect to have adult children or aging parents living with them.
Thirty-one percent of respondents to the 2012 survey said that they anticipate at least one adult child moving back home in the future, while 32 percent expect to take in an aging parent.
The demographic shift to multigenerational homes is likely to spark construction of more "smart" homes that break from recent tradition, Petroulakis said. "What's important is that the home is planned smart ... that it really maximizes your communal space."
Extra bathrooms, downstairs bedrooms and large kitchens are examples of features that characterize these homes, she said.
Multigenerational homes share of total households already has swelled over the past decade. They are up by 30 percent between 2000 and 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
PulteGroup says its survey of renters was conducted online in March 2012 among 506 adults who rent a home or apartment across the United States and intend to purchase a home in the future. The survey on multigenerational housing was conducted online in September 2012 among 511 homeowners across the U.S., ages 35 and older, with children between the ages of 16-30 and among 550 U.S. homeowners, ages 18-65, with living parents. The margin of sampling error is reported as 4.3 percent.
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