Millennials, born between 1981 and 1997, are less likely to get married than their parents and grandparents, and when they do, it’s often later in life.
In 1960, the average age a couple first married was in their early 20s; today, the median age for a first marriage is closer to 30. Millennials are three times as likely to have never married as members of the Silent Generation (now in their 70s and 80s).
But even without saying, “I do,” many young people still want to become homeowners, to begin building wealth and to walk away from the uncertainty of renting.
Unmarried couples accounted for 16 percent of first-time homebuyers in 2017, the highest share on record, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Single men and women accounted for a quarter of first-time homebuyers. Today, just 57 percent of first-time homebuyers are married, compared with 75 percent in 1985.
The Urban Institute released a study, show the 5 Factors that reveal what is really holding Millennials back:
1. Delayed marriage: Yes, delaying family formation is, in fact, a hindrance to homeownership. Being married increases the probability of owning a home by a full 18 percentage points, after accounting for other factors such as age, income, race/ethnicity and education. If the marriage rate in 2015 had been the same as it was in 1990, the Millennial homeownership rate would be about five percentage points higher.
2. Greater racial diversity: White households have the highest homeownership rate by-far, therefore the increasing diversity within the Millennial population also contributes to the lower homeownership rate. If the racial composition remained the same in 2015 as it was in 1990, the Millennial homeownership rate would be 2.6 percentage points higher.
3. Increased education debt: Student debt could be turning into a crisis. But how much does it affect homeownership rates? The Urban Institute’s data shows a 1% increase in student debt decreases the likelihood of owning a home by 0.15 percentage points.
4. Increased rents: Nationwide, rent just jumped to a new all-time high, surpassing an average $1,400 per month. And now, data shows that a 1% increase in a household’s rent-to-income ratio decreases the likelihood of homeownership by 0.07 percentage points.
5. Delayed child bearing: Not only are Millennials taking longer to get married, but they are also spending more time before having children. For those who are married, having a child increases the probability of owning a home by 6.2 percentage points.
Another important factor to Millennial homeownership includes parental wealth and homeownership status. For any generation, a child’s likelihood of being a homeowner increases by nine percentage points if their parent is a homeowner. Also, a 1% increase in parental wealth increases the child’s likelihood of being a homeowner by 0.016 percentage points.
The study also found that Millennials’ choice to live in more expensive urban centers also helps contribute to the generation’s lower homeownership rate.
Unsurprisingly, less educated Millennials are falling further behind in homeownership as the gap between those with and without a degree increased significantly compared to previous generations. The difference between the homeownership rate between the two groups increased from 3.3 percentage points in 1990 to 9.7 percentage points in 2015.
Another gap is also rising as greater wealth disparities also emerge among white, black and Hispanic Millennials. The study shows that while all Millennial race and ethnic groups have experienced a drop in homeownership since 2005, the black homeownership rate has been continuously lower than all groups and has dropped further than the other groups since 2000.