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Millennials & Homeownership

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Millennials have quickly surpassed baby boomers as the nation’s largest living generation, and 39 percent of them still live with a parent or relative, according to the Pew Research Center - "Millennials overtake Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation".

What is holding this generation back from homeownership?

Marriage, or lack thereof. This major life event often leads to homeownership—but millennials are getting married later than ever. The average age for marriage is 27 for women and 29 for men, according to the Pew Research Center - Marriage Data Trends. To put this into perspective, the average marriage age in 1960 was 20 for women and 23 for men. Some suggest that reasons for delaying marriage include student loan debt, flat wages, rising home prices and rising rents.

To Rent or To Buy?

This generation faces a new set of challenges when it comes to deciding whether to buy or rent a home. On one hand, renting provides flexibility, but rates are rising. On the other hand, interest rates to buy a home are near historic lows.

The American Bankers Association Foundation recommends considering the following questions when deciding whether to rent or buy:

  1. How much money do you have saved up? Down payments are typically 5 to 20 percent of the price of the home—and security deposits for rentals are usually about one month of rent. Whatever you decide, keep enough in savings for an emergency—around three to six months of living expenses.

  2. How much debt do you have? Take into account your current and expected financial obligation—including a car payment, insurance, credit card debt and student loans. Ensure you will be able to make all the payments in addition to the cost of your new home.

  3. How long will you stay? The longer you plan to live in a certain place, there more it makes sense to buy. Over time, your home will build equity. Renters have greater ability to move and have fewer maintenance costs.

  4. What is your credit score? A high credit score indicates strong creditworthiness—and a low credit score can keep you from qualifying for the rental you want or a low interest rate on your mortgage loan. See if your financial institution offers a complimentary credit report consultation and request one today.

  5. Have you factored in all costs? The best way to ensure you haven’t forgotten any details is to create a hypothetical budget for your new home. Find the average cost of utilities, and determine if you will have to pay for parking or trash pickup. Plus, if you’re planning to buy a home, factor in real estate taxes, mortgage insurance and potentially a homeowner association fee.

  6. Location, location, location. Consider this: For every $1 a family saves on housing in an area that is more affordable, they spend $0.77 more in transportation. Think carefully about your commute and how much household income will be required to not only meet housing needs, but transportation costs as well.

Whether you’re deciding to rent, buy or build a home, Busey is here to help. Our experienced mortgage team has the answers and support you need. Visit the Mortgage Resource Center at buseymortgage.com for current rates, financial calculators and more—or apply online today to get pre-qualified and know your options from the start.

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