Millennial myths dispelled

Highlights:

  • 8z Real Estate broker Ryan Carter addresses Millennial myths.
  • The Millennial generation is aged from 18-34.
  • Many are qualified to buy homes and are eager to do so.

By Ryan Carter

Special to Denver Real Estate Watch

Ryan Carter, a broker with 8z Real Estate, dispels myths about Millennials and home buying.

Ryan Carter, a broker with 8z Real Estate, dispels myths about Millennials and home buying.

The autumn housing market has remained robust, partly as a result of high demand from homebuyers, many of whom are members of the Millennial generation.

Much has been written about Millennials, those between the ages of 18 and 34. And much of what has been written is simply conjecture.

This month we’ll take a closer look at the Millennial generation and their opinions about real estate.

We will dispel some of the myths about the Millennial generation, but first a quick review of October’s  market data.

A snapshot of housing sales volume along the Front Range.

A snapshot of housing sales volume along the Front Range.

The volume of real estate sold across all Front Range markets in October increased 5.8 percent on a year-over-year basis.

Sales remained steady, but the number of active listings followed the typical seasonal pattern and shrank by 6.5 percent.

Fewer listings and steady sales resulted in inventory supply remaining steady at 2.0 months, a pause in the three-month trend of rising inventory levels.

In City and County of Denver, sales volume decreased 5.6 percent on a year-over-year basis in October. The supply of available homes increased slightly from 1.6 months to 1.7 months.

There is only a 2-month supply on unsold homes along the Front Range.

There is only a 2-month supply on unsold homes along the Front Range.

Now, back to the Millennials.

Because they are the largest generation, even bigger than the Baby Boomers, and they are just entering the prime home buying phases of life, Millennials and their actions will play a critical role in the housing market for decades to come.

So what do Millennials really think about real estate and what are some common myths?

Myth No.1- Millennials don’t want to own homes

Those who are propagating this myth apparently forgot to actually ask Millennials how they felt about purchasing and owning real estate.

Fortunately a few people did ask.

An extensive survey conducted by Zillow found that 67 percent of Millennials believe that “owning a home is necessary to live the good life.”

That percentage was higher than any other generation surveyed. Perhaps even more interesting, 75 percent of Millennials feel that “owning a home provides a person more freedom.”

Despite the speculation of pundits, the dream of home ownership is apparently as attractive as ever among Millennials.

Myth No.2 – Millennials aren’t able to buy homes

The reality is that many Millennials are not only able to buy homes, they are active in the market and no doubt closing on homes as you read this.

The Harvard Center for Housing Studies recently estimated that about 50 percent of the 25- to 34-year-old renters in the top 85 metropolitan areas have the income and credit scores to qualify for a mortgage today.

That said, Millennials have faced some economic headwinds.

The biggest headwind of course was the Great Recession and the relatively slow recovery in its aftermath. Home buying is still dictated by jobs to a large extent, and only in the past couple of years have we seen robust job creation.

Furthermore, like all previous generations, the biggest hurdle to home ownership is saving up the down payment.

Surveys have shown that a majority of Millennials believe you have to put 20 percent down.

Fortunately, this is not accurate, so there may be an opportunity to better educate them about their options.

Lastly, much has been written about the burden of student loan debt holding Millennials back.

No doubt, student loan payments make it harder to save for a down payment.

However, a TransUnion study found that “student loan obligations do not inhibit younger consumers’ ability to access and repay other consumer credit categories, such as a mortgage, compared to peers without student loans.”

It appears that too many Millennials may believe the myth themselves that they can’t afford to buy a home, when in fact they can.

Myth No. 3 – Millennials don’t think homes are a good investment

Millennials were mostly bystanders as home prices plummeted during the post-bubble correction, but they had a front row seat, and as a result, the hypothesis is that Millennials view real estate as a bad investment. Again, let’s see what Millennials, not the prognosticators, think.

In what may be the most surprising result of all, the Zillow survey found that 65 percent of Millennials believe that “owning a home is the best long-term investment a person can make.”

Millennials were even more bullish on real estate than the Baby Boomers, who came in at 64 percent on the same question.

Conclusion: like previous generations, the Millennial generation recognizes that home ownership is a viable path to prosperity. Those who find a way to purchase real estate early in life often set themselves on a trajectory to financial well being.

So rather than reading about what they are supposed to be thinking, Millennials are busy buying real estate in increasing numbers.

On a personal note, I find it deeply rewarding to help people purchase a home for the first time, whether they are Millennials or seniors.

And with Thanksgiving having just been celebrated, I am thankful for the opportunity to help my clients realize the American dream of home ownership.

 Have a story idea or real estate tip? Contact John Rebchook at JRCHOOK@gmail.com. DenverRealEstateWatch.com is sponsored by 8z Real Estate. To read more articles by John Rebchook, subscribe to the Colorado Real Estate JournalRyan Carter owns and runs an 8z Real Estate Office in Confluence Park.

 

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John Rebchook

John Rebchook has more than 30 years of experience in writing and communications. As the Real Estate Editor for the Rocky Mountain News, he wrote about residential and commercial real estate for 26 years. He has won numerous awards for business stories and columns that he wrote, both as an individual and part of teams. In addition to real estate, he also covered economic development, banking and financing, the airlines, and cable TV for the Rocky. In addition, he was one of the original freelance writers for GlobeSt.com, covering commercial real estate for the Internet publication.

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