The latest Fannie Mae survey found that only 23 percent of renters living in single-family homes think renting makes more sense than owning a home. So why are so many people still renting?

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Credit problems inhibit home sales

Unfortunately, bad credit and other problems keep 53 percent of renters surveyed from buying a home. Nearly three-quarters of single-family renters say it would be difficult for them to get approved for a home loan, and one-third of renters say it's their bad credit that keeps them from buying a home.

You're not alone: Most Americans have mortgage credit problems today

Renters have been hit harder than homeowners: the survey also found that most Americans believe they'd have a hard time getting a home mortgage today (53 percent), a figure that increases to 71 percent among renters.

Younger people anticipate difficulty getting mortgages ...

While 51 percent of Generation X Americans (age 35-44) expect that it would be difficult for them to get a home mortgage today, the number increases to 59 percent among Generation Y (age 18-34).

... but are more optimistic about their fiscal future

On the other hand, 57 percent of Generation Y Americans expect their personal situation to improve over the next year, compared to only 42 percent among Generation X and 35 percent among Baby Boomers (age 45-64).

If you think home ownership is a smart investment, you're right

A recent Harvard study found that renters have only a fraction of the net wealth of owners. Near the peak of the housing bubble in 2007, the median net wealth of homeowners was $234,600, about 46 times the $5,100 median for renters. Even if homeowner wealth fell back to 1995 levels, it would still be 27.5 times the median for renters.

Need a bad credit new home loan? It can't hurt to try

If you haven't applied for a home loan because of bad credit, you should. Get your free credit report from and purchase your scores. Then, start contacting lenders--the form on this site is an easy way to get started.

Make a plan

 You might be pleasantly surprised with an approval. If not, ask your loan officer what you should do to get approved. For example, you might be able to get an FHA loan if you put 10 percent down instead of 3.5 percent. You may need more time at your job before your income is considered stable enough. You may need to look for a cheaper home or save up an emergency fund. You may have to add 20 points to your credit score, which means paying bills on time and reducing balances. Whatever it is you need to address, put yourself on a plan and try again in six months.