Millennials bridging the racial divide in homeownership

by Anna Sobrevinas19 Apr 2017
Almost a century ago, racial covenants restricted people of color from purchasing their own homes in many areas. Having a roof over their heads was illegal just because they weren’t white.

Today, there is still a gap between the percentage of white and non-white homeowners, but a reluctant yet emerging age group is bridging the chasm between racial differences – millennials.

“While minorities remain underrepresented among homeowners, that is changing as a younger, more diverse set of buyers enters the market,” Jeremy Wacksman, Zillow Group’s chief marketing officer, said in a recent report.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, millennials make up more than a quarter of the population (83.1 million), and they are “more diverse than the generations that preceded them with 44.2 percent being part of a minority race or ethnic group.”

This age group is characterized as “financially savvy and cautious” by Zillow when it comes to home buying, and prefer renting over buying a home. Down payment was cited as the primary worry of millennials in home buying, but they also showed the utmost confidence among the age groups that preceded them on being able to afford a home someday.

Seventy-one percent of all homebuyers are white. African-Americans account for 9% of all homebuyers, as do Hispanics. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, meanwhile, account for 5% of all homebuyers.

Among millennial homebuyers, however, those percentages are much more in line with actual population demographics. Data from Zillow stated that 66% of millennial homeowners are white, followed by Hispanics (17%), African-Americans (10%) and Asians and Pacific Islanders (7%).

“Thanks to a stronger job market and overall economy, the 35-and-under crowd is growing up,” LendingTree CEO Doug Lebda said in a recent news release. “Although millennials have been slow to the real estate market, the appeal of homeownership remains strong, and we’re beginning to see more activity with this generation.”

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