For most people in this county, buying real estate represents the pinnacle of the American dream. However, that dream is becoming a fleeting reality for a worrying number of people. In particular, Millennial homeownership remains one of the key metrics that belies our supposed economic recovery.
It’s a tough situation, one that everyone can sympathize over. While many young people want to participate in homeownership, the accessibility to do so is becoming irrationally difficult. According to Yahoo Money contributor Dhara Singh:
Among young adult renters who want to buy a home, 7 in 10 say they simply cannot afford one, according to a recent study by Apartment List, an online real estate company. The analysis was based on responses from over 10,000 millennial renters across America.
Renters said poor credit and the burden of future monthly mortgage payments were major obstacles. But the most commonly cited challenge was saving for a down payment, with 60% of young adult renters saying this is what has kept them from buying a home.
“Millennials today will need a 20% larger down payment than baby boomers,” said Dean Baker, chief economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research. “Housing prices are higher [even] when adjusted for inflation.”
Unfortunately, one of the biggest hurdles to Millennial homeownership is saving for a down payment. Nearly half of young prospective buyers have no money saved for a down payment. Only one in eight have saved more than $10,000.
Lack of Millennial Homeownership Goes Beyond Personal Issues
Look around and you won’t find any shortage of criticism against young people. Older generations decry that millennials have gone soft. Others believe that they have an entitlement attitude. And other critics cite their inability to delay gratification for a higher payout later.
Some of these criticisms have merit. But to explain the dearth in Millennial homeownership goes beyond personal traits and quirks. After all, the baby boomers were once young and rebellious, shocking their parents with blasé attitudes toward established social norms.
Instead, I think we must recognize that multiple, large headwinds exist. Among them, the financial system no longer favors Millennial homeownership.
Primarily, with the long-term erosion of the dollar, crippling inflation have devasted the ability for regular folks to save money. Frankly, big corporations know that the economy is flooded with white-collar workers – an issue I’ll discuss in a future article. As such, this is an employer’s market, contrary to what mainstream society states.
Therefore, the major corporations – and even small businesses – are getting away with underpaying employees. As you know, wage growth has been stagnant while inflation has increased – this is one of the reasons why.
In this vicious cycle, it’s extremely difficult to save money, especially in high-demand neighborhoods. Thus, I don’t expect Millennial homeownership trends to change positively until we have a broader financial reset.