From the WSJ:
The group of Americans known as Generation X has suffered more than any other age cohort from the housing bust, according to an analysis of federal data, suggesting homeownership rates for that group could remain depressed for years to come.
The data show an enormous swing in the fortunes of people born between 1965 and 1984, the group defined by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies as Generation X.
Compared with previous generations, Generation X went from the most successful in terms of homeownership rates in 2004 to the least successful by 2015, according to the data, which date to the early 1980s.
The culprit: a historic bull market for housing, fueled in part by easy-to-get mortgages, that encouraged record levels of home buying until the financial system cracked and the housing market collapsed. Earlier generations such as baby boomers, who entered the market before the frenzy of the early 2000s, have fared better.
Generation X “came into the market at precisely the wrong time,” said Rick Sharga, executive vice president at Ten-X.com, an online real-estate brokerage. “We’ve effectively wiped out a group of homeowners who historically would have been on their second or third properties by now.”
In 2004, people then-aged 25 to 34, the core of Generation X, had a homeownership rate of 49.5%, the highest for that age group since the U.S. Census Bureau started regularly collecting such data in the early 1980s.
Last year, by contrast, the homeownership rate for 35-to-44-year-olds was at a more than three-decade low of 58.5%, down from an average of 65.8% for that age group. The upshot: Generation X experienced a much smaller increase in homeownership rates than previous generations as they hit middle age.
Much of the discussion of the future of the housing market centers on millennials, the group born between 1985 and 2004, according to the Harvard Center. Their tendency to live at home with parents and delay getting married has raised concerns about long-term homeownership trends.
But Generation X’s travails promise to disrupt traditional real-estate patterns as well. The housing market can be viewed as a progression through time: younger people start out renting, save enough to buy houses, build equity and then trade up to more desirable homes.