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Home-Buying Millennials Face Fresh Set of Struggles
By Suzanne De Vita
An astounding 98 percent of home-buying millennials surveyed for the report are being kept out of the market, with barriers including credit (cited by 26 percent of millennials), a down payment (31 percent) and prices (40 percent).
Given the hurdles, millennials are compromising on their wants: 84 percent, for example, would give up a feature in their home so that they could buy in their desired location, the report reveals. (The No. 1 do-without feature? A garage, followed by a kitchen that has been updated.) By comparison, just 25 percent of boomer buyers and 35 percent of Generation X buyers would do the same. Strikingly, 24 percent of millennials would accept a higher crime rate in exchange for their ideal property.
The majority of millennials (89 percent), similarly, would give up a feature of their neighborhood so that they could buy their desired home, like activities (e.g., block parties), good schools and proximity to restaurants and shops. Only 15 percent of boomers and 22 percent of Gen Xers would follow suit.
“For millennials, the dream of homeownership is alive and well, but with prices going up and inventory continuing to shrink, this new generation of buyers are facing more obstacles than any other demographic,” says Cheryl Young, senior economist at Trulia. “With tight budgets and fewer choices on the market, most millennials are forced to make trade-offs, and are more willing than other generations to give up home and neighborhood features in order to find their ideal home.”
Aside from the concessions, many millennials are having to put off their search, the report shows. More than three-quarters (79 percent) have delayed their plans to purchase—a higher rate than both boomers (48 percent) and Generation Xers (64 percent). Across generations, however, the obstacles overlap: a not-so-distant 32 percent of Gen Xers and 36 percent of millennials delayed due to the down payment, and an almost-identical 26 percent of Gen Xers and 27 percent of millennials held off due to prices.
Beyond costs, millennials are postponing a purchase for fear of “not having a stable job”—a byproduct of coming up in the recession. Debt, however, is less of a roadblock; just 9 percent of millennials say student loans are stopping them.
Despite the hurdles, 86 percent of millennials are planning to purchase, and, of those, 35 percent are aiming to do so in the next year, and 57 percent are hoping to in the next two years, according to the report.
“In markets where the economy and job growth are thriving, we may see some of these financial challenges start to dissipate as millennials mature into their careers,” Young says. “If anything, millennials can hold out hope that the encouraging housing starts we saw in 2017 can lead to some relief in the starter home segment.”