Renters Really Prefer Owning, Builder Survey Says,” says the Wall Street Journal. I grabbed that immediately — looked like a good, positive story.

Unfortunately, the survey the story is based on doesn’t really say that.

Sayeth the Journal:

A survey from PulteGroup — one of the nation’s largest home builders — has found a surprising result: Many renters want to buy homes.

But PulteGroup actually said:

Among renters who plan to purchase a home in the future, 60 percent have increased their intent to do so.

In other words, renters who were already planning to buy are even more enthusiastic about doing that.

Good news, yeah, but it’s not really that big a deal, unfortunately.

But wait, here’s something cool from that PulteGroup survey — the reasons people want to buy:

  • 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/kids (36 percent)

I can see the commercial now: One person after another simply saying, “I’m a homeowner.” (Or if you wanted to get mean about it — not recommended! — you could start using the phrase “Just a renter.” Ouch.)

And why are these folks not buying?

  • Not enough money for down payment (54 percent)
  • The belief that renting is cheaper than buying (28 percent)
  • Uncertainty with employment status (23 percent)

Click here to read the whole (short) PulteGroup release.