This column is brought to you by the NAR Real Estate Services group.
Contrary to a number of observations in the media, the millennial generation is not abandoning homeownership. It has simply been delayed. And, contrary to some reports, the suburbs are not drying up and blowing away from a lack of demand among younger homebuyers. They are changing to accommodate new preferences in housing, transportation, services and entertainment.
Recent research, published in the Journal of the Center for Real Estate Studies by the Center for Real Estate Studies at REALTOR® University suggests that younger generations continue to aspire to homeownership, but have delayed the buying decision as they strive for economic and employment stability. In fact, according to Lisa A. Sturtevant of George Mason University’s Center for Public Policy in a separate article in the Journal, while “echo boomers (the millennials or Gen Y), in particular, are more likely to live in urban locations and in rental housing…their choices are strongly related to their age. Both the echo boom and baby boom populations are delaying life-cycle events,” says Dr. Sturtevant, “including marriage, childbearing and retirement, which will lead to delays in certain types of moves and housing choices, even if preferences in these demographic cohorts remain relatively unchanged.”
Housing policy at the local, state, and even the national level will certainly be confronted with demographic change, changes in mobility and changes in the requirements future owners and renters place on their housing and community choices. Much of the research recently published by and currently underway at the Center for Real Estate Studies attempts to address issues that the real estate industry and policymakers will face going forward.