Study paints grim picture for Seattle millennials looking to buy homes

Nov 19, 2019, 9:44 AM | Updated: 1:00 pm
millennial homebuyers, loftium, millennials,...
When it comes to millennials around Puget Sound, cost is a huge factor in making that decision to purchase their first property. (AP)

New data from Apartment List claims that 77 percent of Seattle’s millennial renters are not on track to buy a home in the next five years.

Why Puget Sound millennials are finally looking to buy homes

According to the report, 11 percent of millennial renters in Seattle expect to never be able to afford a home. Out of the ones who do expect to buy a house one day, 39 percent have yet to start saving money for a down payment.

In the next five years, just 23 percent of the city’s millennial renters will have saved the requisite 10 percent down payment needed for a “starter home.” As for the barriers standing in the way, it outlines a handful of reasons not uncommon in the demographic across the U.S.

“70 percent of renters say affordability is the reason they have not yet (or will never) purchase a home,” the study reads. “Furthermore, student debt continues to be a barrier and millennials are expecting lower levels of financial assistance from parents than in prior years.”

Student debt especially stands out, with Apartment List estimating a 9 percent bump in Seattle millennials ready to buy a home if debt payments were forgiven, and instead put toward savings.

All this isn’t for lack of want from Seattleites in their 20s and 30s either.

Is Puget Sound’s short-lived housing slowdown officially over?

“Are millennials wanting to buy? Yeah, they are — in fact, 69 percent of millennials believe that buying a home will be the most astute financial investment they will ever make,” Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross back in June.

That being so, the dream of buying a house is one that’s becoming more and more difficult to attain both for millennials in Seattle, and across most large metropolitan areas in the U.S. While 23 percent of millennials are “on track” to buy their first home in Seattle, that number drops to 21 percent in San Francisco and Los Angeles, 20 percent in Denver, and just 18 percent in Phoenix.

“The national homeownership rate is rising again after more than a decade of decline,” the study notes. “But according to our renter survey, millennial homeownership opportunities have not improved over the last year.”

Of the major cities Apartment List tracked in their study, Houston holds the high-water mark at 34 percent of millennial renters ready to buy a home, followed by Philadelphia at 33 percent, and New York City at 31 percent.

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Study paints grim picture for Seattle millennials looking to buy homes