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

Posted By In Your Home | No Comments

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. [1]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 [2]: “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 [3] 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 [4].

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 [5].
  • Understand your credit score: Learn how to improve your credit score [6] 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 [7].

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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[3] doomsday headlines:

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[6] improve your credit score:

[7] I’ve discussed in the past:

[8] Your home loan toolkit: A step-by-step guide:

[9] Financial well-being: What it means and how to help:

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