March 22nd, 2016 | Millenials Home-Buying Trends
Andrea Riquier, of the Washington Bureau of MarketWatch, tells all that "Maybe millennials aren’t so different..."
There’s been widespread fascination with a generation that’s supposedly shunned homeownership and the suburbs in favor of rental apartments in hip and walkable urban neighborhoods. But millennials, also known as Generation Y, have recently made up the largest share of buyers in annual surveys conducted by the National Association of Realtors, and 2016’s findings are no different.
“The largest cohort in America is growing up, and while Gen Y ages they become more traditional in their buying habits,” NAR notes in its 2016 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report, out Wednesday.
Some 35% of buyers in 2015 were millennials, up from 32% in 2014, and their median age was 30, according to NAR. Generation X, those aged 36 to 50, made up 26% of buyers, the second-largest group, and had a median age of 42. The share of millennials buying a home in an urban area declined to 17% in 2015 from 21% a year before. And fewer — 10%, compared with 15% a year earlier — purchased a multifamily home.
It’s possible that many millennials would like to purchase a home in an urban area but just can’t afford to do so, said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, according to a statement. “The need for more space at an affordable price is for the most part pushing their search further out.”
Among all generations, the majority of buyers are purchasing single-family homes in suburban areas. The younger the buyer, the older the home purchased, NAR said.
Millennials’ down payments averaged just 7%, and they were the most likely to say student debt was delaying saving up for a down payment. But the median amount of student debt held by Generation X was $28,000, actually higher than the $25,000 average among millennials.
The biggest student-debt burden was among younger baby boomers, aged 51 to 60, who carried median debt of $29,100.
Bigger debt burdens among older Americans has led some analysts to worry that parents may not be able to help children finance higher education or homeownership as much as they have in the past.