Millennials, take note: Median age of first-time buyers holds steady

Chad Royle
Posted by Chad Royle
Mortgage Banking

I came across an interesting number related to millennial homebuyers the other day: 31.

African-American couple on sidewalk with realtor, who's pointing at a nearby house across the street.Despite the obstacles to millennial homeownership, including student loan debt, rising home prices, and rising rents that are a real down-payment killer, Jessica Lautz, managing director of survey research at the National Association of Realtors, observed: “The median age of first-time buyers has stayed relatively unchanged at 31.”

“This means that they are ready and willing to buy if they can in fact break into the market,” Lautz said during a panel titled “The Minds of Millennials—Motivation, Mobility and Making Home” at this month’s 2016 REALTORS Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo.

This is good news – sort of a reality check on all those doomsday headlines about millennials and housing. The majority of millennials haven’t hit their 30s yet, so the fretting about homeownership being pushed to an older age may be premature. And, as I pointed out recently, new analysis of student debt indicates that over time, school debt is not keeping all recent college grads out of the housing market.

The message for millennials? Use your 20s – like generations before you – to start a career, and learn good financial habits, such as how to save, manage credit, and live within your means. It may be a good time to establish a financial plan that can help you achieve your goal of homeownership in the future. Some tips:

  • Check your credit report: We are all entitled to one free copy per year of our credit report from each of the three major credit services. To order your free copy, go to AnnualCreditReport.com.
  • Understand your credit score: Learn how to improve your credit score and maintain a high score.
  • Know your options for down payment on a home: While 20% is ideal, there are many lending programs available with lower down payment thresholds, as I’ve discussed in the past.

Additionally, there are two very helpful publications from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that can assist you with preparing to take the step of homeownership:

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