Just nine short months ago, the majority of Americans were shocked by the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. While it makes sense that progressive millennials would be feeling less than optimistic about the next four years (the looming threat of health care cuts, the loss of essential transgender rights, and the grotesque white nationalist movement rising in Charlottesville and beyond are just a few of the daily threats we have to worry about), there’s another way in which the most recent election is changing the mindsets of millennials — and this time it has to do with real estate.
A survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Trulia measured how different generations and political party supporters felt about real estate both prior to the election in October 2016 and after the election in mid-November. While the views of the specific political parties didn’t really surprise us (Republicans went from feeling pessimistic about the housing market before the election to more optimistic afterward, and Democrats were the exact opposite), attitudes among millennials saw a surprising and dramatic change post-election.
During this short period of time, millennials’ dreams of homeownership fell more than any other age group. While most Americans’ view of homeownership appears to be relatively unaffected by the most recent election, millennials are the exception. In November 2015, 80 percent of 18 to 34 year-olds said homeownership was part of achieving their personal American dream. In October 2016, just prior to the election, this dropped to 76 percent, and in the week after the election, it dropped again to 72 percent.
So if homeownership is out, are millennials really still crashing with Mom and Dad?
We’re all familiar with the stereotype of a millennial — you know, the one who can’t find a high-paying job, so they mooch off their parents for the free room and board and a conveniently stocked pantry well into their mid-20s. So is there any truth to this annoying generalization? Are millennials really crashing at their parents’ longer than any previous generation? Unfortunately, the answer is yes… but there’s a catch.
According to Trulia data, 14.5 percent of millennials who were between ages 28 and 32 in 2016 still lived with their parents or grandparents. However, millennials aren’t the only ones who are choosing to live with their parents — in fact, the proportion of people living at home with their parents is going up uniformly for all age groups. So while it is completely accurate to say that millennials are living with their parents at a higher rate than any other generation, given that they are the youngest generation to fully enter the workforce, we can interpret this trend as a part of a macro economic reaction that is affecting most Americans instead of a generational choice.
What do millennials really want from homeownership?
While one in six older millennials are still living at home, only 39.1 percent of those who didn’t live with their parents decided to purchase a home. When compared with 63.2 percent of people ages 33 to 55, this represents the largest homeownership gap since the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey began analyzing the data in 1976.
So what’s motivating the nearly 40 percent of older millennials who are choosing to invest in a starter home? According to a new study from SunTrust Mortgage, it isn’t marriage or children that are convincing young adults to buy a home — it’s their pets. Polling 412 adults between the ages of 18 and 36, the researchers found that roughly one-third of participants said that the desire to own a home was influenced by their dogs. Potentially even more interesting, 42 percent of those who hadn’t yet purchased property noted that their dog was a top decision-making factor.
This isn’t wholly surprising, as millennials are significantly more likely to own a dog than the general population, with 75 percent of Americans in their 30s claiming to be a proud puppy parent. Combine this with millennials waiting to get married and have kids until later in life, and it’s no wonder why Fido is playing such a big role in homeownership among 20- and 30-somethings.
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(Photos via Getty)