Do U.S. millennials really prefer renting?

by Ryan Smith25 Sep 2015
The conventional wisdom is that millennials are a generation of renters. But that’s not necessarily true, according to new data from

According to chief economist Jonathan Smoke, millennials are delaying homebuying decisions by no more than a year or two beyond the average Gen-Xer or Baby Boomer. And nearly 65% of millennials between 21 and 34 looked at real estate websites and apps last month.

“Additionally, when we focus on 25-34 year olds we find that this group is 70% more likely than the average adult to be currently looking for a home to buy on,” Smoke said. “While it is difficult to estimate the effect of millennial buyers in the new home market, one can infer that since prices over the year have trended towards the more affordable, that some of the growth in the new homes market is a result of builders providing more affordable supply.”

According to Smoke, about half of all home sales activity in the first six months of the year can be traced to first-time buyers. And millennials make up 68% of first-time buyers in the U.S., according to the National Association of Realtors.

“People who believe that Millennials are disinterested in home ownership are grossly mistaken,” Smoke said. “This generation hit the job market during one of the largest recessions of all time and they’ve had to work hard to establish credit and save for a down payment. With the older segment just beginning to enjoy the life events that drive home ownership – marriage and children – now is the most appropriate time for them to consider home ownership, and that’s what we’re seeing.”


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