Is homeownership on the horizon for American millennials this year?

by Emily Marek

More than three quarters of American millennials say owning a home is still a part of the American dream — but according to a new survey from Clever Real Estate, 48% say homeownership is not affordable for the average millennial.

The real estate company surveyed 1,000 American adults who are looking to make a home purchase before the end of 2024 to gauge their homebuying attitudes and preferences.

Nearly all millennials — 93% — say a volatile market is to blame for wrecking homebuying plans, with another 76% saying they expect the market to get worse before they’re able to make a purchase themselves. Of those who do own a home, 33% feel guilty for owning a property when so many of their peers are unable to afford to do so.

For millennials who still plan on making a purchase, 42% say they expect to make concessions on the characteristics of the home they purchase, while 29% say they’ll probably have to make financial concessions, like paying a higher interest rate, making multiple offers, maxing out their budget or paying over asking price.

As a result, 96% of millennials are concerned about making such a large purchase that doesn’t fit their ideal “dream home” image for one reason or another. Thirty-five percent worry that they’ll need to make major repairs, while 25% worry they won’t be able to afford their mortgage payment.

Unsurprisingly, half of millennials say high interest rates have affected their homebuying plans, with 66% saying current interest rates make it an overall bad time to buy a home. That said, 78% would consider accepting an interest rate higher than the national rate of about 7%. An additional 65% would accept an interest rate of 10% or more, while 23% would go as high as 15% or more. For comparison, 49% of baby boomers would only consider an interest rate of 7% or less.

However, about one in four millennials have less than $10,000 in savings, and one in eight have less than $1,000 in savings. An additional 5% have no savings at all.

It makes sense, then, that 47% of homebuying millennials plan to put down less than 20% when they purchase a home. On the flip side, 79% said they would pay over asking price if it meant beating out the competition — last year, that number was significantly higher at 85%. Furthermore, one in nine millennials say they’d go as high as $100,000 over asking price to secure their dream home.

All in all, millennials are feeling pretty desperate to find homes — 67% shared that they’d be willing to buy a fixer-upper, and 67% say they’d even be willing to purchase a home with asbestos. Another 62% would buy a home with mold, while 58% would buy a home with foundation issues.

Unfortunately, 90% of millennials who already own a home have some regrets about their purchase, with the most common regret being bad location (27%), followed by bad neighbors (26%). Even so, millennials are way more likely than boomers to accept living near an airport, railroad track, busy highway or landfill.

With all this in mind, many millennials are adjusting their expectations when it comes to finding a home in 2024. Half say they plan on saving more money before purchasing, while 40% say they’re increasing their budget. One-third of millennials say they’re going to save a bigger down payment, buy a less expensive home, or put off their plans to buy a home for a while, while 32% say they plan on shopping around for mortgages.

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