Courtesy Paul Kedrosky at Infectious Greed comes this chart that shows over time how renters’ reasons for becoming home owners has changed. While this is a UK sample, given the similarities in the two cultures, and the runup in property values on both sides of the Atlantic, it’s not hard to imagine that a US survey would yield broadly similar results.
Kedrosky highlighted the increased emphasis on housing as an investment. One would expect that motivation to be at least as strong in the US. By contrast, in 1977, far and away the biggest reason to buy a house was having gotten married. Homeownership was seen as part of growing up and putting down roots.