Millennials are still driving a ‘roaring ’20s’ of homeownership demand, but there aren’t enough houses for them

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There are too many potential millennial homebuyers, and not enough homes.

A record number of millennials wanted to buy homes in 2020, but the real estate market can’t keep up.

So finds financial services company First American, which measures potential homeownership demand based on lifestyle, societal, and economic factors in what it calls its Homeownership Progress Index (HPRI). When potential homeownership demand exceeds the actual homeownership rate, it signifies that external forces are suppressing housebuying.

Its new report reveals that potential homeownership demand has surpassed the homeownership rate since 2010, following the aftermath of the Great Recession. But the difference between the two hit an all-time high during the pandemic. Demand rose from 68.8% the year prior to 70.21% in 2020, while the national homeownership rate grew from 64.7% to 66.7%.

Contrary to the popular narrative that millennials can’t afford to a buy a house because they spend too much money on avocado toast, there are more millennials trying to become homeowners than there are houses available.

Housing was largely an out-of-reach dream for millennials for years. Even before the pandemic, they were struggling to save for a down payment as they grappled with the fallout of the financial crisis and the burden of student debt.

But as the generation became more financially stable with age, its potential homeownership demand has increased by 3.5 percentage points year-over-year, per First American. That’s more than any other generation. The majority of millennials turned 30 in 2020 and the oldest turn 40 this year, signifying they’ve reached the peak age for first-time homeownership.

Read more: Millennials are getting screwed again by their 2nd housing crisis in 12 years

Not enough houses for homebuying millennials

America has been running out of houses amid a historic housing shortage. A lumber scarcity and the pandemic itself have only exacerbated the shrinking inventory, as has the wave of homebuying demand during a remote work era.

“We’ve been underbuilding for years,” Gay Cororaton, the director of housing and commercial research for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), told Insider at the end of April. She said the US had been about 6.5 million homes short since 2000, then facing a two-month supply of homes that should look more like a six-month supply. Because of this, she added, homeownership is “going to be more difficult for millennials.”

Daryl Fairweather, the chief economist at Redfin, added that there have been 20 times fewer homes built in the past decade than in any decade as far back as the 1960s. She said it’s not enough homes for millennials, who are the biggest generation, to buy.

The imbalance has propelled housing costs to several record highs, resulting in bidding wars nearly everywhere nationwide, with competing bidders throwing down all-cash bids and higher down payments. It’s become millennials’ second housing crisis during their adulthoods.

Skyrocketing prices have pushed homeownership out of reach for many millennials, despite some of their peers leading the housing recovery. While the wealthier cohort of the millennials may be better positioned to buy a home, even those who successfully managed to scrape together some savings are facing dwindling chances of homeownership.

But millennials will be driving the housing market for years to come. As Odeta Kushi, deputy chief economist at First American, wrote in the report, “While millennial homeownership has been delayed relative to their generational predecessors, millennials now have the greatest influence on the housing market and remain poised to fuel a ‘roaring 20s’ of homeownership demand.”

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Over half of young adults plan to use their pandemic savings on buying a home, which could worsen the housing crisis

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Millennials and Gen Z are planning to use their pandemic savings on buying a house.

America may be running out of houses, but young adults are continuing to set their sights on homeownership.

More than half of them (59%) said they plan to use their pandemic savings on a down payment for a home, according to a recent Zillow survey that polled over 1,200 millennials and Gen Zers. It was the most common answer beyond using their savings for everyday living expenses.

“Even in an unprecedented global pandemic, homeownership still appears to be a priority and aspiration among the sometimes called ‘rent forever generation,'” the report reads.

The survey found that 83% of young adults reported saving money in at least one category during the pandemic. This cohort found themselves on the upside of the millennial wealth gap that the pandemic exacerbated.

Lower-income millennials who were already contending with an affordability crisis had little to fall back on as they experienced job loss and pay cuts. But a higher-earning group with stable income was able to save and invest money they would have otherwise spent in non-pandemic times.

Two financial advisers told Insider last June their high-net-worth millennial clients were tucking away excess cash, as much as $3,000 a month in some cases, which normally would’ve been spent on brunches or plane tickets.

Read more: Millennials are getting screwed again by their 2nd housing crisis in 12 years

The extra cushion helped them drive the 2020 housing boom – more millennials became homeowners than any other generation that year. Millennials are turning ages 25 to 40 in 2020, meaning many of them are entering prime homebuying years.

Interest rates hit a historical low in 2020, making it easier for those with enough money saved for a down payment to buy a home. But the combination with the year when many were working from home soon led to a cutthroat housing market, marked by a historic housing shortage and lumber scarcity which both propelled housing costs to several record highs. That has resulted in bidding wars nearly everywhere nationwide, with competing bidders throwing down all-cash bids and higher and higher down payments.

Many millennials able to snag a house did so by paying above market price, while others saw homeownership pushed further out of reach as housing prices skyrocketed and morphed into an inventory crisis.

As Insider’s Ben Winck reported, the lumber shortage has largely made it too expensive to for builders to construct more homes. Housing starts fell nearly 10% through April after surging the month prior, signaling supply won’t bounce back all that soon. Lumber has come down somewhat since from its super-expensive level, though.

Considering that millennials have just reached peaked homebuying age, and some Gen Zers are already househunting, young adults will be driving the housing market for years to come. This survey suggests that wealthier members of both generations will put their pandemic savings toward down payments, so the unequal housing boom may not abate any time soon.

Whether they will be able to find an available house is another question.

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Most millennial homeowners regret buying their home, survey finds

millennial moving
Millennial homeowners are regretting buying a house.

Millennial homeowners are having buyer’s remorse.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of millennials regret buying their home, a new Bankrate survey that polled 1,400-plus homeowners found. Just over 20% cited expensive maintenance costs as the reason why, while 13% said it’s because they overpaid.

Those reasons come as no surprise in today’s cutthroat housing market, marked by both a historic housing shortage and lumber shortage that have propelled housing costs to an all-time high. It’s resulted in heated bidding wars, where competing buyers are throwing down all-cash offers and offering higher down payments.

The skyrocketing prices and tight inventory is creating new affordability challenges for millennials, who have reached peak age for first-time homeownership. They led the housing market last year, but as the boom turned into an inventory crisis, homeownership fell out of reach for the generation yet again.

Many of those able to snag a house only did so by paying above market price, and some rushed the process in hopes of grabbing something before someone else did.

Consider Stella Guan, who told Insider’s Taylor Borden back in February that she regretted buying a home during the pandemic. Guan, who moved from New Jersey to Los Angeles, said she “wanted to get things done fast” and made seven or eight offers before one was finally accepted. Guan thought she landed her dream ranch-style home, saying she thought she got lucky since there was “somehow no counteroffer.”

But the home had black mold, and repairs cost way more than planned. She budgeted $30,000 to fix up the property but ended up paying upward of $50,000 to overhaul the house. While Guan planned to update the home to her tastes, she said: “I spent all my money on repair and not renovation.”

Unable to lure a new buyer, so she sold to an iBuyer and recouped only 50% of her money. She said the state of the housing market can push people into regrettable decisions.

Homeownership isn’t always as it seems

Guan isn’t the only one who found home improvement costly, per findings from BofA Research’s sixth annual millennial home improvement survey.

It found that millennials are more likely to buy a fixer-upper than a new home, and that some are using loans more frequently than cash to fund home improvement projects exceeding $10,000. When BofA last conducted the survey in 2017, only 34% were using loans for home improvement. Today, 42% of respondents are.

The data suggests that some millennials are resorting to buying old homes and renovating them as an alternative to attempting to outbid an all-cash offer, but that some are now living in fixer uppers they can’t afford.

Other first-time homebuyers are increasingly making offers on houses they’ve shopped for online and through social media. While the move is second nature for a digitally savvy generation, it also proved to be an easier and less time consuming process for those buying a house in an area they’re not currently residing in and a way to move swiftly when houses are flying off the market. But some may be realizing their new house isn’t all it seemed to be behind the screen.

As Thao Le, a professor of housing economics and real-estate finance at Georgia State University, told Borden, “The trajectory of the pandemic, and thus the economy, is still very much unpredictable.” She added that before committing to homeownership, “aspiring buyers should evaluate their financial situation and job security carefully.”

Are you a millennial having a tough time buying a house right now? Email hhoffower@insider.com with your story.

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Best Buy says the hot housing market is boosting the need for TVs and at-home installations

A sign marks a Best Buy store in Salem, New Hampshire, U.S., November 25, 2019.   REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Best Buy reports an increase in TV’s sales and at-home installations, contributing this spike to the hot housing market and home improvements

  • Best Buy says that TV sales and home installations soared for the first quarter earnings.
  • Best Buy CEO Corie Sue Barry contributes this spike to housing sales and home improvements.
  • Revenue for Best Buy is up 27% compared to the first quarter of fiscal year 2020.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Best Buy says that there has been an increase in TV sales and at-home installations for the first quarter of 2021.

“This demand is being driven by continued focus on the home, which encompasses many aspects of our lives, including working, learning, cooking, entertaining, redecorating and remodeling,” CEO Corie Sue Barry said during the company’s earnings call on Thursday. Barry also added that the increase in sales could be due to “government stimulus programs and the strong housing environment.”

The housing market is in fact booming right now, and some reports have even compared the current climate to the housing bubble that occurred in the early 2000’s before the crash in 2008, as Insider previously reported. Some sellers have even experienced their homes selling at record speed.

Overall in the first quarter, Best Buy sales rose 37%, and earnings per share growth rose 230%. Revenue for Best Buy is up 27% compared to the first quarter of fiscal year 2020.

The biggest factors contributing to increased sales were home theater items, computers, and other appliances. But going forward Best Buy doesn’t have much confidence that the boom will continue. Barry said in a statement on Tuesday that the government stimulus payments provided consumers with a level of confidence and without future payments there could be a “lack of confidence” from consumers, according to CNN.

The chain reported earnings of $2.23 per share in the first quarter, a large beat on analyst estimates of $1.39. The firm also topped revenue expectations and raised its outlook for same-store sales growth, helping its shares rise about 1.8% in trading Thursday.

Revenue was expected at $10.44 billion, but the company exceeded that estimate as well, raking in $11.64 billion, according to CNBC.

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The housing market is the hottest it’s been since right before the 2008 crash – but there’s far less bubble risk this time around

buying home
  • Home price growth and construction are the hottest they’ve been since 2006 – the peak of a housing bubble.
  • Despite the similarities of some housing data from 15 years ago to today, experts see two very different markets.
  • Conditions driving this market boom are “fundamentally, radically different,” an economist told Insider.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Housing data is hitting levels unseen since 2006 in at least three different ways, begging the question of whether this is another bubble. Experts say this isn’t that – it’s economics.

Another housing bubble 15 years after the last one would be very bad news, as the epic pop of that market in 2008 threatened the stability of the entire global financial system. But while today’s price inflation is similar to then, the drivers behind this market rally look different.

Nationwide home prices grew 12% year-over-year – their fastest pace since 2006 – this past February, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Index. Gains were broad-based, with all 20 cities tracked by the index experiencing price growth above their respective median levels.

Separately, CoreLogic’s own home-price index also recorded the highest annual leap since 2006 in February. That gauge tracks home prices across the country, while S&P’s index measures prices in 20 metropolitan areas.

Also, for the first time since 2005, the median sale price for previously owned single-family homes is higher than that for new construction. In other words, the premium Americans typically pay to be the first to live in a new house has been completely erased as homebuyers have rushed to buy any home on the market.

“The conditions underlying what happened way back then, during the bubble of ’05 and ’06, and what’s driving price growth today are just fundamentally, radically different,” Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic, told Insider.

Where dubious lending and market euphoria powered the mid-2000s surge, today’s boom is almost entirely due to a nationwide supply shortage. The monthly supply of homes sits near record lows of about 3 months, leading sellers to demand increasingly large sums for their properties. That compares to more than 12 months of supply in 2009.

Today’s market is also backed by a strong underwriting process and isn’t engulfed in a subprime mortgage crisis, Nothaft explained. The price growth we are currently experiencing, he continued, “is rooted in economics.”

Record low mortgage rates and the heightened focus on space have sent buyer demand through the roof, but a pullback from prospective sellers and a lack of newbuilds have resulted in a national decline in homes for sale.

“When you put all these pieces together, increase in demand and limited supply, it pushes prices up and that’s what we’re seeing in the marketplace,” Nothaft added.

Learning from post-crisis mistakes

Other gauges aren’t just at their hottest levels since 2006, but their hottest levels full-stop. The median selling price for existing homes touched a record high of $329,100 in March, according to the National Association of Realtors. And though the supply of previously owned homes has edged higher in recent months, it’s still close to February’s all-time low of 1.03 million units.

“We’ve been underbuilding for years,” Gay Cororaton, director of housing and commercial research for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), told Insider.

The shortage can be traced back to that 2008 housing crash and its long-term fallout. The buying frenzy seen throughout the 2000s had fueled a boom in new construction as builders rushed to meet unprecedented demand. But once the bubble burst, contractors pulled back on building in an effort to prop up demand. Construction rebounded slowly through the last decade, leaving the market with diminished inventories once the pandemic-era boom began.

Daryl Fairweather, chief economist at Redfin, told Insider that the last decade saw a massive drop-off in homebuilding. Fewer homes were built by a factor of 20 going all the way back to the 1960s, she said.

But the latest data suggests contractors are finally heeding the market’s call. Home starts leaped nearly 20% last month to the highest level since, you guessed it, 2006. The reading also marks the largest month-over-month increase since 1990, underscoring the urgency faced by homebuilders.

Americans also seem prepared to keep the market boom alive for at least a while longer. The share of consumers planning to buy a home in the next six months rose to 8.9% in April from 8.1%, according to The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index. That’s the highest proportion since 1987.

With millennials reaching peak homebuying age, supply bouncing back, and mortgage rates expected to move up slightly, economists don’t expect the housing rally to pop, but instead settle into more sustainable growth.

“I think we will return more to the trend that we were seeing pre-pandemic,” Nothaft said, which showed steady national price growth in the single digits. In February 2020, home prices increased by 4.1% year-over-year.

For millennials, who are entering or at peak homebuying age, that would represent a return to a pre-pandemic dynamic of record low mortgage rates but a housing market that still felt out of reach. It may not be a bubble, but it isn’t exactly attainable, either.

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