The statistic sticks out like a C-minus on an A-student's report card. While California homeowners are delighted with their houses (75 percent report being “very satisfied”), far fewer renters (34 percent) feel the same about their apartments, according to the findings of a statewide survey conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California.
But Michael Hayde, CEO of Western National Group in Irvine, Calif., sees more than simple customer satisfaction at work. “If only 34 percent of our residents were happy, it seems like it would have a financial impact. We're not seeing that,” says Hayde, whose company owns and manages 20,000 apartments in Southern California.
Instead, Hayde sees another force at work: homeownership and real estate appreciation. “We're still in a rising market, so homeowners are really happy because of the appreciation they're seeing,” he notes. “Renters, conversely, are frustrated with the process. ... When they look over the fence, it seems to them like they're not getting a lot of bang for the buck. But rents are one heck of a buy compared to where we've been in the business.”
Renters do acknowledge that their monthly housing costs have been relatively stable; 38 percent say their rent has stayed about the same in the past few years, according to the survey findings.