- Helen H. Richardson/Contributor/Getty
- Millennials are taking over the mortgage market in the US, according to a new analysis by Realtor.com. The generation now holds the largest share of new mortgages by dollar volume.
- There are two main reasons why: Millennials are buying more homes, and they’re making smaller down payments.
- There’s long been speculation that millennials would ditch homeownership in suburbs for big cities. But while their timelines may be different than previous generations, the data show their attitudes toward owning a home are similar.
Homeownership is part of the American dream, and millennials won’t be killing it anytime soon.
According to a new report from Realtor.com, millennials are taking over the mortgage market in the US. Home-loan data analyzed by Realtor.com show millennials – defined here as the generation aged 19 to 37 – have purchased a larger share of mortgages than Gen Xers or baby boomers in the US since early 2017.
Now, new data reveal millennials are responsible for the largest share (42%) of new mortgage loans by dollar volume, narrowly surpassing Generation X for the first time, and there are two clear reasons why. Millennials as a group are buying more homes than ever, and, individually, they’re making lower down payments despite rising home prices, which require larger mortgages. To be sure, individual Gen X buyers are still taking on the highest loan amounts.
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The homeownership rate for millennials aged 25 to 34 is still trailing about eight percentage points behind the homeownership rate for Gen Xers and baby boomers of the same age, according to a 2018 Urban Institute report. Millennials’ attitudes toward homeownership remain positive, however. They’ve just taken longer to get there.
“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,” Javier Vivas, director of economic research at Realtor.com said in a press release.
“The stereotype that millennials primarily choose to buy homes and live in large metro areas isn’t the reality,” Vivas said. “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.”
The data show that millennials made up more than 50% of new mortgage holders in 2018 in Pittsburgh; Cincinnati; Milwaukee; St. Louis; Columbus, Ohio; and Buffalo, New York. The affordability factor in these places is apparently a huge draw. On average, monthly homeownership costs in these markets represent only 25% of the median income for millennials aged 25 to 34, compared with 31% nationally, the analysis found.
While millennials may be buying cheaper homes than Gen Xers and baby boomers at a median price of $238,000, they’re putting down less money up front. The average down payment by a millennial homebuyer on a mortgaged home was 8.8% in December 2018. Paired with rising home prices, it’s evidence millennials are taking on bigger mortgages, as a group, in order to put down roots.
But all things considered, millennials aren’t approaching homeownership exactly as their parents did, as Business Insider’s Hillary Hoffower previously reported. There’s been a rise in unmarried millennial couples buying homes together, and it’s because of economic conditions and a shift in attitudes toward marriage, Hoffower said.
Homeownership is more important than other major life goals and events, such as getting married and having children, to nearly three-fourths of millennials surveyed in a 2018 Bank of America study. Teaming up with a partner, regardless of marital status, can make homeownership more affordable, Hoffower said.