Delayed Ownership and Wealth Disparities

Millennials aren’t purchasing homes on the same timelines as previous generations, and that has some economists worried. The homeownership rate for millennials was 37 percent in 2015, which is about eight percentage points lower than Generation X and baby boomers when they were at the same age between 25 to 34, according to a new report released by the Urban Institute.

Economists point to several factors for millennials’ delay into homeownership, including their delays to get married (being married increases probability of owning a home by 18 percentage points), rising student debt, delayed child bearing, and increasing rents that are making it more difficult to save for a down payment.

But the Urban Institute’s report notes that such delays into ownership are sparking concern. Less educated young adults are falling further behind in homeownership, the report notes. The gap in homeownership rates between the more educated versus the less educated population has grown significantly, increasing from 3.3 percent to 9.7 percent between 1990 and 2015. “Less educated millennials could be falling behind homeownership because of their unstable incomes and rising rents,” the report notes.

Source: “Millennial Homeownership,” Urban Institute (July 11, 2018)

Home Features ‘Most Desired by Age’

Home buyers are demanding more home features that help them save energy and keep the home organized, a new study released by the National Association of Home Builders, “Housing Preferences of the Boomer Generation: How They Compare to Other Home Buyers” reveals.

However, the generations – millennials (born 1980 or later); Gen X’ers (born 1965-1979); baby boomers (born 1946-1964); and seniors (born 1945 or earlier) – do show some differences in what home features they value the most. In a nationwide survey of more than 4,300 home buyers, NAHB pinpointed those differences and which features each generation most desires.

Home features most wanted by each generation detailed at: “Housing Preferences Across Generations (Part I),” National Association of Home Builders’ Eye on Housing Blog (March 7, 2016), study source.

Generational “Home Buying Trends”

At 31 percent, Gen X comprises the largest group of recent home buyers, according to NAR’s Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends report released today. Gen Xers were followed in numbers by Gen Y buyers (28 percent), and then younger Baby Boomers (18 percent), older Baby Boomers (14 percent), and the Silent Generation (10 percent). The Greatest Generation, also known as the G.I. Generation, represented less than 1 percent of recent buyers.

The report — a compilation of survey data from 8,501 recent home buyers — also shows that 80 percent of buyers who are aged 57 and younger bought a detached single-family home in 2012. Buyers over 57 are increasingly purchasing townhouses and condos.

The report also found that among all generations of home buyers, the first step in the home buying process is looking online for properties for sale.

Older buyers are less likely to finance their home purchase in comparison to younger buyers; when they do finance, the share of the home they financed is typically smaller.

Survey respondents cited benefits from working with a real estate professional. Among age groups, younger buyers are more likely to want their agent to help them understand the process as they are more likely to have never purchased a home before. Additionally, younger sellers are more likely to use the same real estate agent or broker for their future home purchases than older sellers.

When it comes to selling, Gen X is the largest group who are recent home sellers followed by both younger Baby Boomers and older Baby Boomers, the Silent Generation, and Gen Y. The G.I. Generation represented less than 1 percent of recent sellers.

Source: National Association of Realtors (NAR)