Jessica Doane and Russ Page pose for a portrait in their Libertyville apartment on Wednesday, April 5, 2017. The couple plans on purchasing their first home in Chicago soon. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Why Millennials Are Finally Starting To Settle Down And Buy Homes

By Gail MarksJarvis
Chicago Tribune

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Millennials still trail other generations in home buying by a long shot. But, according to Fannie Mae economist Douglas Duncan, they are making gains as they age, he says,”they will start catching up.”

CHICAGO

Millennials are finally starting to show interest in homeownership.

Weighed down by massive student debt and job struggles, the generation brutalized by the Great Recession has lacked both the money and the desire to buy homes. They’ve been a generation of renters.

But as millennials have entered their 30s, established themselves financially and started having families, they’ve gradually begun to show interest in homeownership, according to Fannie Mae economist Douglas Duncan.

To be sure, millennials still trail other generations in home buying by a long shot. But they are making gains as they age.

“They were hard hit by the economy, went back to college because they couldn’t find jobs and got a later start,” said Duncan.

“They will start catching up.”

The trend comes as a relief to real estate agents desperate to sell homes and economists worried that the economy would remain bogged down without enough first-time homebuyers.

Typically, 20- and 30-somethings play an essential role in the economy and housing market. They become first-time homebuyers, filling their new homes with everything from appliances to yard equipment. Millennial home purchases also give older generations the chance to sell their own houses and move up.

Millennials are coming of age as homebuyers, though, just as housing prices are climbing and a lack of homes in some markets is causing bidding wars.

Russ Page and his fiancee, Jessica Doane, have experienced the rigors of the market in Chicago. Both now 28, they weren’t in a hurry to buy earlier as they tried to get careers on solid footing. But as rents in the Chicago area climbed, they started asking themselves if they were wasting too much money on rent and they were tempted to move from a distant suburb closer to downtown Chicago.

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