The American Dream has long included homeownership, which is one of the major expenses most individuals hope to make in their lifetime. Demand rises as more people rush to buy new homes in the housing market when property prices and interest rates fall. 

One group of people, however, isn't too excited at aiming for the milestone of homeownership even in the current presence of cheap interest rates. More Millennials are putting off buying their first house. 

In this article, we'll find out the various reasons that are keeping this group from buying their properties.

Reasons Why Most Millennials Don't Buy A Home

1. Affordability 

Generally speaking, a homeowner's monthly gross income should not be more than 25% of their mortgage payment. Anything higher implies they cannot afford the house. That being said, it might be more difficult for millennials to purchase a property as the affordability gap between home values and income levels develops.

This might be one of the biggest reasons why millennials can't buy homes.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that in January 2020, the housing affordability index again exceeded 100. The index value dropped as low as 92.5 in 2018 from a high of 109.3 in 2015. An index value of 100 indicates that a family making the median income has exactly enough money to be approved for a property costing the median price. There are parts of the country that are more affordable because the index represents an average across the U.S. The issue is whether Millennials are prepared to move and part ways with their jobs, friends, and families to purchase a property. 

2. Relationship Status

Compared to 1967, when 80% of adults aged 25 to 34 shared a home with a spouse or partner, less than 60% did so in 2018. People are now getting married later, with the average marriage age for women being 27.8 and for men being 29.8 as per 2018 U.S. statistics. Counting Houses.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that the average age of a first-time mother is 26, while this age rises for urban and college-educated women. Due to the evolving nature of marriage and parenthood, Millennials are delaying the purchase of their first house and living at home with their families for extended periods.

A survey conducted by the Bank Of Millennials on the purchasing trends of Millennials suggests that "life events like getting married or having kids are typical triggers to buying a home. The longer this age group lives with parents or independently, the more homeownership will be delayed." 

The share of Millennials living at home or with family has increased by nine percentage points since 2005, to 22.5%, in part due to delayed childbearing and later marriage.

More than 50% of homebuyers under the age of 36, according to NAR, claimed that student loan debt prevented them from purchasing a home. According to an estimate from Apartment List, college graduates in 2018 who had no student debt needed to save for a 20% down payment in 7.6 years, whereas those who had debt needed to save for more than four years longer. 

3. Student Loans

By the beginning of 2020, student debt in the United States had reached almost $1.6 trillion. As a result, it has now become a hardship for Millennials who are trying to enter the home market. The same group is also struggling with low incomes and raises in the majority of the job market, which makes it harder for them to repay their debt. The purchase of a house was delayed by student loan debt for more than 50% of buyers under the age of 36, according to NAR. According to Apartment List, college graduates with student debt were required to save more than four years longer than those without debt in 2018, needing 7.6 years to accumulate a 20% down payment. 

two millennials holding paper

4. Lending Requirements

To lower risk, banks tightened credit underwriting. They also doubled down on the requirement that homebuyers put 20% down. However, Millennials are taking longer to save up enough money to put a down payment on a home as prices rise. 

The majority of the current 25 to 34-year-old generation began their careers during the financial crisis and the early stages of the recovery, when the economy and job market were shaky, according to Bank of America. 

Even though lenders may offer loans with less than 20% down payments through mortgage affordability programs, lenders frequently charge higher interest rates on these loans to make up for the higher default risk. The majority of these mortgages will also demand that Millennials purchase private mortgage insurance (PMI), which would raise monthly payments even further. 

5. Relocation

Millennials are still moving in huge numbers to urban areas. According to a 2018 Pew Research study, 88% of Millennials currently reside in urban regions. Millennials are relocating to areas where there are more renters than homeowners, driving up rental prices in the urban areas where they choose to live, whether it's due to a social movement or the allure of better job possibilities. Millennials don't seem to want to own a backyard or even commute thus far. BuildZoom claims that while new home sales are above 2000 levels within five miles of the cores of the ten densest cities, they are around 50% below 2000 levels ten miles outside of the city. 

The purchasing habits of Millennials in big cities, such as their love of new clothing, Amazon Prime, the newest smartphones, and daily Starbucks trips, have received a lot of attention. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) however, somewhat refutes this idea. Between 2004 and 2015, spending on clothing and entertainment dropped 1.4%. Spending on privately owned housing fell 2.6%, which was the greatest decline in Millennials' shopping baskets. During this time, the 3.2% increase in rental housing costs was the biggest. 

Final Note

While Millennials are delaying homeownership due to rising home prices in the US, evidence suggests that it may not be entirely out of their price range. The average age of Millennials who are still living at home has increased, even if some financial barriers—student loan debt and down payments—remain. These societal changes in how young adults are living have driven homeownership to record low levels.

It used to be that you could easily purchase a home with just a 10% down payment. During the housing boom (before the burst) you could sometimes get a home with as little as 5% or even 0% down. These days, though, it's much more common to see people putting 20% down on Indianapolis homes. The trend is largely due to the recent housing crisis and lenders having a bit less faith in the people who are borrowing. As a result, it's harder for many Hoosiers and people across the nation to purchase the homes that they want and feel that they can afford. Leading up to the housing crisis, banks were being somewhat irresponsible and giving loans to people who couldn't actually afford them. Because of these past mistakes, lenders are now being much more stringent about who they offer loans to. Having 20% down on the home you would like to buy is a solid indicator that you are ready to make the purchase, and banks like to see that. For some people, however, getting together 20% takes a great deal of time. If you're looking to get into a new home within the next few months but have less than 20% to put down, talk to an experienced Indianapolis real estate agent, like the team members at RE/MAX Advanced Realty, to learn about your options.


Options your realtor may discuss with you include alternatives to traditional home loans like VA loans and government mortgage assistance programs. For example, if you’re a first time homebuyer, you may qualify for a FHA loan through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). With a FHA loan, you can put down as little as 3%, sometimes less. However, keep in mind that the higher your down payment, the less expensive your monthly mortgage will be. Another way to avoid a hefty down payment is to consider other housing options. By turning to a professional realtor, you can become informed of housing that will still work for you and your family, but at a lower price point. For example, instead of considering a three-bedroom single-family home, you may consider a condo or townhouse instead. In many cases a townhouse can give you almost as much room as a single-family home and at a significantly lower price. Whatever your situation, it's a good idea to make sure you have a solid plan in place for affording your home before you make any buying decisions. Working with an experienced realtor can help you determine precisely how much house you can actually afford. Once you have your parameters in place, your realtor can help you find something that will work within your budget. You may be surprised what you are able to find in Indianapolis without having to count pennies. Working with the best realtors in the area will give you access to listings you might not have been able to find on your own. Call RE/MAX Advanced Realty today at 317.298.0961 to learn more.

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