From the Huffington Post:
Yvonne Jimenez Smith and her husband, Brandon Smith, spoke in whispers recently as they visited a white stucco house they planned to buy on a leafy street in San Jose, California.
Following six months of aggressive hunting, they were on their way to a small suburban home of their own after spending most of their 20s in noisy city centers.
“It was so quiet, it just seemed weird to speak out loud,” Jimenez Smith said. “We lived over a freeway entrance in San Francisco. It was always loud and we were always surrounded by people. It’s a big change.”
Like the couple from San Francisco, who are 28 and 30, other millennials are starting to follow in the footsteps of earlier generations and buy suburban houses after fueling a boom in city apartments. The share of 25- to 35-year-olds who own homes, which had been falling since 2005 as renting grew in popularity, ticked up slightly in 2017, according to a Stateline analysis of census microdata from IPUMS-Current Population Survey.
Last year 32.3 percent of young people were homeowners, a slight increase from 2016 when it was 32.2 percent.
That’s still well below the 45 percent in 2005 and the peak of 55 percent in 1980.
Millennials are hitting the market at a difficult time, though, with rising prices and few houses to buy as the housing industry has shifted to building more downtown rentals. Some people seeking to buy houses have been discouraged and have postponed the step, just as many have had to put off moving out of parents’ houses, forming couples and having children as they tried to build careers delayed by the recession.
Between 2011 and 2017, home prices grew 48 percent while income for all age groups rose only 15 percent, according to National Association of Realtors statistics.
Thirty-two is the median age for first-time homebuyers, according to a survey by the Realtors Association. That means many first-time buyers are squarely in the millennial generation, the oldest of whom reached their mid-30s in 2017.
There was an increase in new homebuyers named Dylan, Chelsea and Austin, according to ATTOM Data Solutions, which compiles real estate data such as deeds that don’t include buyers’ age. Such names were popular baby names in the early ’90s.
The apparent uptick in ownership in 2017, the first since 2005, is so tiny that it’s hard to say if the trend toward less buying and more renting is really over, said Chris Porter, chief demographer for California-based John Burns Real Estate Consulting.
Ownership is still “considerably lower than 10 years ago,” Porter said. “We may need another year or two of data to understand whether this is truly a reversal.”