According to a 2016 report, approximately 35% of home buyers were also first-time buyers that year. And since people tend to be waiting a little longer to purchase homes, it should come as no surprise that there’s a certain demographic that’s finally entered the marketplace. Although millennials have often been blamed for killing various industries and even for the downturn of the real estate market, it turns out that this generation is actually leading the charge when it comes to home ownership. What’s more, millennials are actually purchasing a larger share of mortgages than homeowners from other generations.
In other words, real estate agents and providers of home loans would be wrong to ignore the millennial generation. A recent analysis of home loan data analyzed by Realtor.com found that adults aged 19 to 37 (aka millennials) have bought a larger share of mortgages since early 2017 as compared to Gen Xers or baby boomers. In fact, millennials comprise the largest share of new mortgage loans by dollar volume, representing 42% in total. That means they now have more mortgages than Generation X homeowners.
There are reportedly a couple of different reasons for this. One is that millennials are simply buying more homes. Instead of resigning themselves to renting, they’re realizing that homeownership is a real possibility. Contrary to popular belief, millennials actually do want to experience this rite of passage; it’s simply that they were not able to realize it until recently. That said, there are financial barriers for millennials looking to buy homes. Home prices are rising and many millennials are forced to contend with lower wages, higher costs of living, and steep student loan payments. If they want to own a home, most have to make do with making smaller down payments on these properties. The report found that the average millennial down payment on a home hovers around 8.8%, which pales in comparison to the 11.9% Gen Xers put down or the 17.7% many baby boomers will contribute.
Ultimately, that means mortgages for millennials are more substantial. While Gen X homeowners are still taking on higher loan amounts (likely due to more expensive properties, as they’re more likely to buy a “forever home” than a starter home), mortgage payments can still be a major concern for millennials. It’s just not a concern that’s necessarily going to dissuade them from making the purchase.
As Javier Vivas, the director of economic research at Realtor.com, explained in a statement: “Millennials are getting older, with better jobs and deeper pockets, allowing them to expand their collective purchase power, and hence, their footprint in the market. The stereotype that millennials primarily choose to buy homes and live in large metro areas isn’t the reality. Results show millennials’ expansion is more heavily conditioned by affordability than in prior years, so their eyes are set on less traditional secondary markets where homes and jobs are now available and plentiful.”
For millennials who have their sights set on homeownership, research is key. Knowing that not all mortgages actually require that 20% down payment can empower buyers of this generation and allow them to realize their dreams of owning property, even with a stricter budget. Even those with significant student loan debt may very well be able to obtain a mortgage and purchase a home. Most millennials will also find that managing those loan payments, improving their credit, and obtaining pre-approval for a mortgage will make the process much smoother.
Of course, finding a lender you can trust will be key. Understanding your different mortgage options and discerning which one will work best for your situation is essential for millennials, who simply have different financial concerns than their parents and grandparents did when they purchased their first homes. A lender who knows about the unique challenges millennials face when buying homes, who can clearly explain your available choices, and who can guide you throughout this process will be a priceless asset.
If you’re embarking on the home buying process for the first time, it’s important to know what you can feasibly afford. Understanding your mortgage options and the terms of your mortgage will give you the freedom and knowledge you need. For more information, contact us today.