We’ve all heard the talk about the “generation gap” in America. In the 1960s and 70s, it was used to refer to the difference in attitudes and values between parents and their children, the “baby boomers.” Today that gap still exists, though those baby boomers are seeing it with their own babies, their children, or that growing population known as the “millennials.”
Not surprisingly, the values of millennials often differ greatly from those of their parents. However, what is surprising is that despite these gaps, millennials share a very big value of their parents – the desire to someday own a home.
This, however, does bring up a concerning gap affecting millennials– the difference between wanting a home and being able to actually afford one.
Homeownership Isn’t Cheap.
With the soaring costs of housing in much of America today, the goal of homeownership is much more difficult for millennials than it was for their parents. At home in Chester County, PA, for example, the median home price has reached nearly $300,000. The high price has resulted in one of the biggest barriers to homeownership for millennials – qualifying for a loan and raising down payment funds. Additionally, with private mortgage insurance required for down payments of less than 20%, they face higher mortgage payments that make qualifying even harder.
A Downward Trend.
Millennials face another challenge that their parents didn’t have to face – excessive student loan debt. This makes it harder for them to afford a mortgage payment, or even soaring rents. So, it’s not surprising that some have found a solution that’s close to home – living with their parents.
Knowing this, it’s not surprising that first-time buyer volume has dropped significantly. According to an annual report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) in 2014, home purchasing by first-time home buyers reached its lowest level in nearly 30 years. Additionally, these younger buyers, which have historically made up about 40% of the overall purchase market, accounted for just 33% of home sales.
Making Homeownership Possible.
Homeownership is not just important to millennials; it is also critical to the communities where they live and work, since homeownership is key to economic stability.
As a bank dedicated to supporting our local cities and towns, DNB First has introduced a solution to encourage homeownership – the First-Time Home Buyers program. The program offers unique benefits to help remove some of the barriers to homeownership, including lower down payment amounts and reduced private mortgage insurance.
With this program and others like it, millennials may just be able to do something their parents were able to do – call a house their own. Though, unlike their parents, they probably won’t be calling from a rotary phone.
Vince Liuzzi serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Banking Officer at DNB First.