When it comes to homeownership, Millennials have certainly been late at coming to the table. This was for a variety of factors, one of which was that a large portion of the generation was in college while the country and the globe were in the midst of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression in 1929. During those critical years, where most generations would begin to comprehend in a more sophisticated way how markets and money work, Millennials were trying to get by and watching their families trying to do the same.
For Millennials, homeownership was the furthest thing from their mind. Instead, this challenged generation focused on something that society at a large had deemed paramount, and that was getting an education. It made perfect sense. Education is a vital part of increasing our understanding of the world and how it works, which could help us avoid situations like the financial crisis. However, like with everything, there was a cost. The question was, where to find the funds to pay for this education. That is where student loans come in. Easy access to funds and no obligation to begin paying it back until your education is completed is an enticing proposition…and Millennials took it.
Upon graduating, Millennials were faced with a considerable problem: finding a job in a saturated job market and finding a way to begin paying back the borrowed money. It took some time for them to get gainful employment and work their way up the ranks, but Millennials have finally become strong earners–and with a more robust understanding of money and markets as a result of experience, a formidable force in the housing market.
Homebuying Activity in 2019 by Generation
SOURCE: NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS
INFORMATION DERIVED FROM 2019 HOME BUYERS AND SELLERS GENERATIONAL TRENDS REPORT
In 2019, Millennials surpassed Baby Boomers as being the most active in the real estate market. A common trait that arose amongst Millennials was the “desire to own their own home,” which most researchers would never have suspected. Historically, Millennials have been seen as the “un-rooted” generation that prefers leasing over purchasing. Their desire to be mobile, not have to worry about repairs, and to change their environment whenever they’d like was the prevailing ideologies whenever you spoke to a Millennial or observed their behavior. As we can see, that’s all changed now. As a society, we have learned that every generation plants roots; you just need good soil. It took some time, but that is precisely what Millennials have found. It will be exciting to see this generation continue to grow and what impacts they will have on the world.
For more information on Millennials and their homebuying trends, read our Insight 2020 Mid-year Report.