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Of Millennials and Homes

Posted by Johnine Larsen on July 3, 2017
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“It’s impossible to own a home in this city.”
“I’ll always rent.”
“I can’t afford to buy in Seattle.”

I hear this attitude often, mostly from my younger friends who feel eternally priced-out of Seattle’s housing market. And things are bad for Millennial home-ownership. It’s not an impossible dream—not by a long shot—but for young people, owning a house isn’t as easy or common as it was a few decades ago. I’ve watch this trend develop personally during my 25 years in real estate, and national data backs it up.

According to a recent study by Adobo, only 32.1% of Millennials are homeowners. Twelve years ago, 39.5% of young adults were homeowners. The years required to save for a down payment is up, too. Today, it takes the average Millennial 15.6 years to save enough for a down payment, assuming they’re consistently putting away 15% of their income for those 15.6 years. Adobo writes, “Young adults used to account for a much larger portion of homeowners than they do today—the prevalence of college, mounting student loan debt, and an increasingly tight housing market are slowly pushing back the age of first-time homebuyers.”

The data proves it: Millennial home-ownership is down. Yet the data also proves something else: it’s not about Seattle.

Millennial home-ownership suffers across the country, and despite what we hear, Seattle is only a slightly-below-average housing market. Don’t believe it? Take a look.

Millennial home-ownership in Seattle: 29%
Millennial home-ownership nationally: 32.1%

Years for a Millennial to save for a down payment in Seattle: 14.5 years
Years for a Millennial to save for a down payment nationally: 15.6 years

Seattle’s home-ownership rank (compared to other large cities): 30 out of 45

When you break it down state-by-state, the results put even less blame on Seattle. Compared with other costal states, Washington looks pretty good for Millennials.

So what does this mean?

Moving away to buy a house will work, but only if you don’t mind buying a house in the Midwest. If you want to own a house in a major costal city, Seattle’s a decent bet.
Buying a home anywhere is going to be hard. Millennials, prepare for a tough road, and save, save, save.

I’m here to help. I believe everyone has the right to home ownership, and I make it a personal mission to help first-time homebuyers find a house they can afford. Sometimes that means waiting a few years to build savings. Sometimes it means looking in lesser-known neighborhoods. Sometimes it means patience, great personal letters, and luck. I work with your specific situation and recommend the best option for you. Seattle Millennials, take heart. Things aren’t as bad as they seem.