One In Five Millennials Believe They Will Never Own A Home

Young Americans’ homebuying outlook just keeps getting worse.

Almost one in five Millennials (18%) and 12% of Gen Z respondents to a Redfin survey believe they will never be able to own a home.

They overwhelmingly see affordability as their primary barrier, with half citing high prices as their biggest concern. Just under half of respondents say they can’t save for a downpayment, coming in second.

Notably, just over one-third directly blamed mortgage rates for the state of the market. Other concerns include paying off student loans and being able to make monthly mortgage payments.

“The worsening housing affordability crisis has an outsized impact on Gen Zers and Millennials because they’re much less likely to own a home than older generations,” said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather. “That means many young Americans don’t benefit from rising home prices by gaining equity. Instead, these would-be first-time homebuyers bear the burden of high prices, high down payments, and high monthly mortgage payments, without profits from a previous home to offset the cost.”

Millennials have plenty of reason to worry as their homeownership rates keep sinking. Just over 50% of Millennials owned a home in 2022, compared with 56.5% of Boomers in 1990 and 58.2% of Gen X in 2006.

Even Gen Z is tracking ahead of Millennials in homeownership at the same age.

A combination of forces has made it difficult for Millennials to become homeowners.

Ongoing bouts of economic uncertainty in 2001, 2008, and today have hindered their earning potential, and many are saddled with student debt. 

Some people can benefit from the stability and lower payments of a mortgage, especially now that rents have risen. But getting out of a rental takes significant upfront capital that these groups don’t have.

“Many young people don’t have a choice between renting and buying. They’re renting their home because even though rent payments have increased, too, it’s still more affordable than buying in much of the country–and renters don’t need a down payment,” Fairweather said.

Build-for-rent communities have been growing in popularity as the housing landscape changes in the United States. According to leaders at the National Association of Home Builders, developers are exploring new ways to meet continued housing demand and single-family build-for-rent properties provide a stepping stone between renting and buying for young families.

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