The ‘millennial’ generation - those born between 1980 and 2000 – are as interested in home ownership as baby boomers, contrary to reports suggesting otherwise, a seminar in the US has heard.
According to a report in REALTORMag, the official magazine for the US-based National Association of Realtors, Dr Glenn Crellin, a professor at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies, University of Washington, told a panel of experts at an industry event in Washington, D.C. that data showing the millennial generation’s low home ownership levels didn’t mean they were in favour of renting forever.
“Recently, headlines showed the general press believed we were entering an era of rentership," Dr Crellin said. “[As a result], they believe home ownership doesn't deserve the kind of support it had been given.”
Dr Crellin said while the home ownership rate among the under-35 population in the US in 2011 was just under 40 per cent, well down on the national rate of around 65 per cent, and that home ownership levels had declined more sharply among those under 35 than among other groups since the GFC, it would be wrong to assume this meant the millennial generation wouldn’t eventually purchase a home.
According to the REALTORMag report, Dr Crellin said the rate of home ownership for those under 25 is actually higher today than that of the under-25 baby boomers in 1970. He also pointed to a recent poll of Washington State University students that he conducted, which showed that 48 per cent of them expect to buy a home in the next 3-5 years.
“[The recession] is probably going to delay purchases, but it’s not the permanent transition that the national press is predicting,” he said.
As in the US, affordability also remains an issue for younger generations in Australia, according to the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA).
In recent comments about the federal budget, REIA CEO Amanda Lynch said first home buyers in particular needed more support.
“We had hoped the government would recognise the need to directly intervene and not leave housing affordability dependent solely on the whim of the banks,” Ms Lynch said.
“One of the most effective housing policy instruments in assisting first home buyers is the First Home Owners Grant, but it has been allowed to lose more than half its value relative to purchase prices since it was introduced in 2000."
“The Budget might fund new cost of living relief for Australian families but it fails to address what most Australians see as a priority – housing affordability,” Ms Lynch concluded.