By Rieva Lesonsky
Much has recently been made of the fact that home ownership in America was on the downswing. According to Barry Ritholtz writing in Bloomberg View, home ownership “peaked in 2004 when 69.2% of U.S. households owned” their homes. Then it hit bottom in Q2 of 2016, when home ownership fell to 62.9%, the lowest rate since 1965. But Ritholtz says home ownership is on the rebound—it’s already up to 64.2% today.
What’s driving the surge? Millennials, of course. Ritholtz says he predicted this day would come back in 2014, when he wrote, “The economy will one day improve, and the millennials will move out of their parents’ basements. When that happens, expect to see home ownership rates move back higher.”
According to the Census Bureau, home ownership for millennials has risen from 34.7% to 36% in a year. Still, most homes in America (79.2%) are owned by those ages 65 and older. But as millennials get older (they range from 18/19-mid 30s) this is sure to change.
Millennials are getting married—there are about 2 million weddings every year, according to The Knot—which is often the precursor to buying a home. Of course, millennial homebuyers don’t want to live like their parents. They want:
- Smaller, functional homes. They value originality and uniqueness—no cookie-cutter houses for them.
- They’re willing to buy fixer-uppers.
- 59% prefer space for a TV in the kitchen over a second oven.
- 77% want a home with technological innovations. They’d rather brag to their friends about smart automation than a kitchen upgrade.