April 6, 2019

Did you know that only 37 percent of 25 to 34-year-olds own a home? This percentage is eight points lower than the percentage of Gen Xers and baby boomers who owned a house at the same age. Millennials have a different relationship to homeownership compared to previous generations and are facing unique financial barriers.

Are millennials ready to settle down?

There are several factors linked to the current job market that causes millennials to delay homeownership. Young adults want or need to remain flexible for their careers. By the age of 35, some 25 percent of young adults have worked at five different jobs.

Woman working on her laptop.

Job hopping means that settling down in an area could reduce career opportunities. Millennials tend to look for more than financial stability when choosing a career. Money plays a part in deciding whether or not they want to stay with an employer, but this is a generation that cares about finding an employer who is a good fit for their values.

New hires out of college don't stay at their first job for more than two years in 45 percent of cases because they want to find a job that is meaningful and that offers opportunities for growth. Millennials are getting married and having children later than previous generations, which could explain why buying a home isn't a priority.

The median age for getting married is getting closer to 30. However, millennials are more likely to purchase a home without being married compared to previous generations since 16 percent of first-time homebuyers were unmarried in 2017.

Financial realities

Millennials are more likely to live in big cities to seek career opportunities. This means that home prices are now higher, and there is a real limited supply of abodes for sale in some areas. High rents are another contributing factor to declining rates of homeownership.

By 2025, we could see as many as 13.1 million Americans spending 50 percent of their income or more on rent and millennials would represent a large portion of this group. Allotting 50 percent of one's monthly budget or more on rent makes it difficult to save up for a down payment.

For 83 percent of 22 to 35-year-olds who don't own a home, student debt is mentioned as a barrier. A total of 45 million Americans have a high debt-to-income ratio due to student debt. The median income for an individual with student loans is just under $60,000, and their monthly loan payment is $350 on average.

Home with a for sale sign in the front yard.

A fifth of them owes over $100,000, and monthly payments make it difficult to afford home payments or even qualify for a mortgage. Low credit scores are another common barrier to homeownership. Millennials have an average score of 640, which is lower than the median score needed to qualify for a mortgage.

Student loans are negatively impacting the credit score of this generation, but some have a low score due to a lack of credit history or credit card debt. Homeownership is a huge step toward financial stability. Once a home is paid off, more income is available for retirement planning and housing expenses are eliminated during retirement.

Millennials acquiring this asset later in life could impact their ability to retire comfortably.

Fiscal responsibility is an issue that affects every generation and the federal government. Up To Us draws attention to what you can do to improve your understanding of financial literacy and the federal budget process. If you think these issues matter, participate in the Up to Us program, and have your voice be heard.