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More Americans planning moves, but a majority will rent, survey finds

More Americans expect to relocate in 2016, compared to last year, but a larger percentage of them also plan to rent versus purchase a home, the most recent American Express Spending & Savings Tracker survey shows.

Some 42 million, or 17 percent, of Americans plan to move in 2016, up from 12 percent last year. Still, of those planning to relocate, 53 percent are expecting to rent — the largest percentage since 2012, when American Express began polling on the subject.

By contrast, some 40 percent of Americans planning to relocate this year expect they will purchase a home, the survey shows. That’s down from 46 percent in 2015. Some 7 percent of 2016 survey respondents were not sure whether they would rent or buy — versus 4 percent last year.

“In general, Americans are feeling confident about the economy and their own financial stability, yet they’re buying fewer homes,” said Jed Scala, senior vice president of consumer lending at American Express. “The reason could be a shift in the cultural mindset — especially among millennials — who value flexibility and freedom, and homeownership could be seen as counter to that.”

On that note, 31 percent of millennials — now the largest generation in the country — expect to move in 2016, the survey indicates. That’s up from 21 percent last year. Still, of those eying relocation, 55 percent plan to rent while 41 percent expect to purchase a home — percentages that are similar to last year’s survey results.

There is some good news on the horizon for the housing industry, however. The survey results indicate that millennials, typically defined as individuals now in their 20s and early 30s, have growing confidence in the future housing market. About one-third (32 percent) expect the real estate market will be best for purchasing a home in the next one to two years. That’s up from 25 percent last year, according to the poll.

The American Express poll was conducted in February and involved a random sample of some 1,800 adults who completed surveys online. The survey group included a sample of the general U.S. population as well as an affluent sample — defined as those with a minimum annual household income of $100,000.

Questions? Contact Bill Conroy at (800) 297-6061 or


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