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posted on 24 October 2015

Millennials Are Facing A Home Ownership Conundrum!

by Michael Haltman

(Article originally appeared at the Hallmark Abstract Service website)

Home affordability helps to keep many millennials in rentals!

Ah, the proverbial American Dream...A job for life with one benevolent employer, a secure retirement somewhere down the road, marriage, a home in the suburbs, two kids and two cars in the garage. And of course, let's not forget a chicken in every pot!

Millennials Are Facing A Home Ownership Conundrum!

But for many of those who are in the beginning stages of pursuing this dream, aka millennials, at the current time the potential for home ownership is beyond many of their grasps (along with a couple of the other items in the list as well).

Why does this inability for many to own exist given what is reported to be a better job market, an improving economy, rock-bottom interest rates and sky-high rents in many markets?

Home Affordability!

From an article in Bloomberg written by Prashant Gopal, the quandary facing many of our young, at least from the perspective of housing, is explained this way...

'Buying a home should be getting easier for millennials amid sustained gains in U.S. hiring. Instead, increased demand for a scarce supply of starter homes is pushing prices beyond their grasp.

Prices for the least expensive previously owned homes - properties at 75 percent or less of the median - were up 10.7 percent in August from a year earlier and now represent the only one of four price tiers to surpass the peak reached during the housing bubble, according to a housing index from CoreLogic Inc. The August pace was 5.9 percent above its pre-recession high in October 2006.

The gap in the the growth rate between the most expensive and cheapest homes is now the widest since 1983, with the latter rising at a pace that's 5.2 percentage points higher than that of the top tier.

Sam Khater, CoreLogic's deputy chief economist, said:

"You've got the front end of a big wave of first-time homebuyers but the supply of affordable housing is not there to meet that wave. What you're seeing in the housing market is a reflection of the polarization of income. The builders are looking at it from that perspective: 'If I have a choice of going up- and down-market, I've got to go up-market.'"

The starter-home supply crunch is worsening, adding to the pressure on prices. The bottom third of the market accounted for 24.4 percent of listings in August, according to property website Zillow. That's down from 25.6 percent a year earlier. In Denver, where the shortage is extreme, the lowest tier accounted for just 16 percent of inventory.'

Michael Haltman is President of Hallmark Abstract Service in New York.

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