I recently asked my parents how old they were when they bought their first home. My mom was 20 years old and my dad was 26, which means that it was back in 1980.
Maybe my parents’ case isn’t the best example of what was “normal” during that time, but they tell me that many of their friends were also purchasing their first homes in their mid-to-late 20s, at the latest. I was kind of surprised to hear this, and it makes me realize that times have definitely changed.
As an almost 23-year-old, with the majority of my friends being the same age or a few years older, I actually can’t think of a single one of us who owns his or her own home. The majority of my friends are renting a small apartment, or they’re still living with their parents. If today were anything like 30 years ago, I’d probably already be living in my own single family home.
Millennials continue to delay purchasing their first home.
In 2014, the average age of a first-time homebuyer was 31 years old.Meanwhile, the number of younger households owning their primary residence has fallen sharply from 40 percent in 2007 to 34 percent in 2011. Last year, the share of first-time buyers fell to its lowest point in nearly three decades.
Purchasing a home isn’t the only big life commitment my generation seems to be delaying. People in my age group are waiting longer to get married as well. Studies by the Pew Research Center show that themedian age at first marriage has risen over the past 50 years by about six years for both men and women. As of 2013, only 26 percent of Millennials between the ages of 18 to 32 were married, which is a big drop compared to 1980, when 48 of people between in that age range were already married.
So why are Millennials lagging behind earlier generations in getting married or purchasing their own homes? Many sources say that student loan debt is primary factor. Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), states that, “Rising rents and repaying student loan debt makes saving for a down-payment more difficult, especially for young adults who’ve experienced limited job prospects and flat wage growth since entering the workforce.”
It seems the rising age of first-time marriages and first-time home buying go hand in hand. Personally, I care more about buying my own home than I do about getting married. But whichever comes first, my boyfriend and I know we’re going to need a huge amount of money saved up, and that’s what’s taking us so much time.
More young adults are going to college than ever before, which means most of us aren’t able to work a full-time job and start building up some savings until we’ve finished getting our degrees. By that time, we are around 23-25 years old and have to start repaying our student loans, which also makes it harder to build up enough savings for a down payment.
We all know that weddings aren’t cheap, and a down payment on a house costs even more. Might as well start saving for both, in my opinion. It’s not that my generation doesn’t want these things – just our priorities have changed and we are going to need a little more time to get there.