Small Town Millennial: How Times Have Changed for the Housing Market

The priorities of millennials have changed. There isn't much fascination with the American Dream anymore. According to research from investment firm Goldman Sachs, millennials choose to tie the knot by 30, compared to 23, the median marriage age during the 1970s. The sharing economy existed because of the millennials' reluctance to buying cars; carpools and rideshares are slowly becoming the transportation norm.

Their housing priorities have shifted, as well.

A ceiling over your head

Owning a house remains a dream for the younger generation, but renting continues to be more practical. There has been an increasing number of millennials who choose to rent. Some rent because they're saving up for a house; others prefer not to get bogged down by real estate taxes and other charges. There are now communities that cater to the rent-preferring demographic of the housing market, offering up to more than $2000 per month for a single-family house. There's a simple appeal to the costs of renting: it's just more practical.

A millennial exodus

However, those who still persevere to buy their own house find a way or another. One of them is moving away from the bright lights of the big city. The millennial exodus is happening. The increasing costs of living and poor educational quality big cities have become major turn-offs. The same cohort, along with some Gen X-ers, that boosted urban growth after the recession is now moving away.

But where do broke millennials go? Some, home. There's an increasing number of people living with their parents. In 2010, that number was at almost 30%. They don't have to pay for anything while they're saving up to afford a home.

For millennials who can afford a house, the move is to the suburbs or smaller cities and towns. Currently, Athens, Ohio has the densest millennial population in the country right now at 59%. That's partly because of the students of Ohio University. From renting an apartment to looking for homes for sale in Daybreak, Utah, the millennials' search for affordable housing and cost of living continues.

A new American Dream

Student debt

Ten years have passed since the Great Recession shook the economy, yet its effects still reverberate today. After all, it's the time when millennials started entering the workforce. Housing prices haven't become affordable since pre-recession. Banks have put stricter financing requirements. Individual income hasn't fared that well; there's still a pay disparity. All these play a huge part in the millennial's change of priorities.

Not only that: the moment some millennials graduate from college, they're already in debt. Student loans make up for a huge chunk of debt the current generation has. For those who ended up debt-free, realistically, it can take them 7.6 years to buy a house. It will take four years longer than that time for those with debt to pay their dues and have a roof over their head.

Millennials are still dreaming of a time they can buy their own house. However, they're choosing to be more practical now more than ever. Renting over owning; affordable housing over expensive McMansions with white picket fences.

Maybe there's still time for a housing boom during the millennial era. A last-minute revitalization of the housing market. Some are optimistic; others not. However, one thing's for sure: the American Dream has changed. The millennials have woken up.

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