Why Many Millennials Are Still Staying Away From Homeownership

By Don Lee
Tribune Washington Bureau

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Whether the lack of supply is hampering demand, or the other way around, isn’t clear. But millennial-generation home buyers have not emerged in expected numbers, in part because they are staying single or getting married and having children later in life. What type of affect if this having on women and finances?

WASHINGTON

For millions of young adults who make up the largest and best-educated generation in American history, coming of age in the wake of the Great Recession has been particularly painful.

With jobs and opportunities scarce, many were forced to return to school or take refuge by moving back in with their parents.

The idea of buying a place of their own seemed impossible.

But the last three years of recovery and job growth have raised hopes that millennials, adults under 35 years old, will soon be crowding open houses and kicking the slow-moving home-building industry into higher gear. A resurgence of residential construction would provide a big lift at a time when the recovery has lost momentum because of economic turmoil abroad.

Trouble is, the housing market itself faces powerful head winds. Changes in demographics and in the industry have held back demand and supply. Neither is likely to be unleashed any time soon.

Developers have been catering more and more to affluent baby boomers, building larger and more expensive dwellings, which makes buying a first home even more difficult for young adults.

Surveys by the National Association of Home Builders show that less than 20 percent of new construction in recent years has been for entry-level properties. Before the recession, that share typically hovered around 30 percent. More than half of single-family houses sold in recent years have been 2,400 square feet or larger, compared with about 40 percent a decade ago.

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