Share of the homeowners market continues to slide for the young

By | March 3, 2017

Perhaps not unexpected given the ever falling homeownership rates, this only serves to highlight the steeper decline experienced by the younger population when compared to their older counterparts. Consider that in the year 2000, people over the age of 55 made up 40% of the overall homeowners population. Over the past 16 years, this number has ballooned to over 52%. Who lost? The 44 and under demographic has given up the greatest share of the market, down more than 10% over the same period of time.

Share of the homeowners market


For a semi-related exhibit, consider the increasing share of homes used as rentals across the prior 7 years. (Each bar reflects the cumulative change in the share of homes used as rental properties).

Cumulative change in the share of rental properties by region


17 thoughts on “Share of the homeowners market continues to slide for the young


    What percentage of American adults were 55+ in 2000, and what percentage of American adults are 55+ today? Clearly some of the change discussed in this article is about the change in the population.

    1. lytics Post author

      Good question. Most of the demographic shift happened in the younger age groups. The 55 and over demographic has increased by approximately 3-4% since 1982 (depending on the source). Even after adjusting for the population shift, the steep trend we see in the data would still remain.

  2. Josh H.

    Being a 34 year old working class dreg who qualifies for a home loan of up to $100,000 I’ve not seen many homes I’d like to slave over for the next 30 years. Most are small, in need of repair and not in the greatest neighborhoods or otherwise cheaply built tract housing. This economy and current competitive housing market make me reluctant to purchase a home even with the high rental cost sweeping across the globe.

    1. CM

      @JoshH in my city (Los Angeles) you can’t find any homes for $100,000, try $400,000 in a terrible neighborhood that badly needs repair. $800,000 for a decent but small house.

      1. Josh H.

        Large metropolitan cities have become walled gardens for those with disposable incomes it seems. There is apparently a surplus of liquid cash out there I’m not privy to or prices are being grossly inflated in the market due to demand. Are we still seeing the effects of the 2008 bubble?

  3. James McNitt

    you don’t live in the same country I do. I live in the capital City of Michigan. I bought a three bedroom brick two story home in a relatively good neighborhood.
    It was built in 1923, and was lovingly taken care of by the 70 something’s I bought it from. it cost $75,000. leave LA, Leave California.

    1. WC

      Why should someone leave their home to buy a cheap home in Detroit? Is the job market just wonderful all across Detroit? I know for a fact there aren’t companies hiring for what I do as a living. Congrats on having a nice house, but I don’t understand how everyone in America following your lead will accomplish anything.

      1. Dennis

        Detroit is not the capital of Michigan, though I do agree that you shouldn’t flee one state for another.

  4. Timothy Willis

    Houses cost way too much, and I make way too little. Even with a 4 year degree and full time work, buying a house making 40k a year just isn’t in the picture without saving for a massive downpayment.

  5. Jesse

    Was interested in buying a home, but the taxes here are crazy high and a Fixer home selling for $9, 000 is assessed for $90, 000.. Making It nearly impossible for people that want to just gradually fix Things. The taxes here are only $500 less than what I Pay for rent Which is pretty sad..

  6. Mosley

    I was only able to buy a home at 34 because I qualified for a VA loan with no down payment and no mortgage insurance. Even then it takes both myself and my wife working full time to pay for everything.

  7. Jason

    The cost of housing to wages is out of whack. My wife and I sold our Baltimore row home for $230,000, a 1800′ square foot house that fit our budget easily. This was in a bad crime and school district, even though it is an improving neighborhood. With two young girls starting school age and the need to move to a safer better neighborhood we left. It will cost far more for better schools and a safer neighborhood. We have owned a piece of land in Annapolis MD for years and desire building our dream home. It is cheaper to buy a piece of property and build a brand new home than to purchase an older outdated home in the area. The cost of a home we would like is $700,000 or more. No way we could afford that. We both have good jobs and income so we are going to build. This is still an expensive process, however it was not as expensive 10 years ago. The cost increase for “Impact Fees” alone is enough to give someone pause to build a house. Impact Fees were introduced in 1987. Impacts fees are a way for the county to pay for roads, schools, police, and firefighters. As if the taxes weren’t enough to cover this. The house we are building is 3200 square feet. The cost for impact fees has gone from approximately $3000 to $15,000 in the last ten years. In the end the costs will be high for the house we want, but it will be less than buying someone else’s problems with a less energy efficient home.

    My point is that younger less financially established people can afford a home. A townhouse can cost $300,000 in Annapolis. We are lucky in that we have the financial ability to achieve our dream home. With no debt, cash in the bank, and decent retirement savings we can make it happen, at the age of 45 and 40.

  8. bruce king

    I’ve run across many millenials who have what I consider to be mortgages already – in the form of inescapable student loans. They have already been
    sold their house and are paying it back, with interest, leaving no money for a 2nd house.

    They’ll be renters forever.

  9. Rick

    I don’t deny the numbers, nor the honesty of any of the comments, but let me float something I heard years ago (I’m 68, bought my first home in ’75 with a crazy 10% mortgage, but have lived now in my home x 33 years). At some early age all of us have our internal “thermometers” set for “this is what ‘home’ is like.” Let’s say that age is 10-12 years old. The fortunate among us may know it to be a single family residence but the range is broad. We grow older with our image of “home” and use it as we create our own homes. Certainly that image is important to our renting and buying decisions. What’s often forgotten is that the home we idealize was probably not mom & dad’s first. Before we were born, mom & dad rented dumps and tin cans to live in while they worked toward their own ideal “home,” the one we remember growing up in. There might be a tendency for each generation to advance the level of minimum home acceptability simply because we expect our search to start where our parents’ ended. That could encourage younger buyers to rent rather than downgrade their starter home ideal. I’m not ignoring the mounting financial aspects of home ownership but offering there may be other factors at play, too.

  10. SpeedRacer

    Are declining rates of homeownership in today’s climate a bad thing?

    With job markets as they are, many are still stuck in an ever-revolving, cubicle-farm job cycle which effectively binds work and home.

    On the flip side, many in younger generations graduated through the collapse of the housing market, having seen millions lose their home by going underwater on over-inflated housing values too many bought into as an ever-increasing bank account.

    Questions about asset building at larger level aside, your home is not an asset. It is a liability you pay into each year and hope it will rise over time. Most homeowners only make it through 7 years of a 30 year mortgage, paying someone else the vast majority of their payment in interest, only to restart the clock with a bigger liability/house down the line. Even those buying multi-family homes still most often personally guarantee those loans, counting on someone else paying their mortgage while exposing all personal bank accounts, credit, and assets to that house’s risk profile if/when its value goes underwater, a tenant falls and sues, and fall behind in payments and a bank finds it is in their best interest to pursue said homeowner with a deficiency judgement.

    We are in a global era where, just like international companies do, younger generations and tech-savvy employees can work, communicate, and collaborate from anywhere, dramatically lowering overhead in fixed costs like housing through creative renting of primary assets, like housing.

    AirBnB, HomeAway, and traditional apartment leasing with shorter contract terms are an expected and logical response to a market where work/income streams are getting shorter and shorter themselves. Let’s stop positioning them as an economic apocalypse as much as a sign of the times and increasing global, mobile workforce.

  11. David Smith

    Duh!! It’s because they don’t have jobs that will allow them to buy a home!

  12. Steven R

    Mortgage is ridiculous right now. Especially if you are trying to live in a metro area. I was able to buy a nice house 3000 square feet but had to get it 70 miles away from work. Commuting on the 405 is a nightmare. But when i was looking to be even 20 miles from work a small place in a not so desirable area the mortgage was gonna be $3000 plus. You don’t have to leave California to get a nice place for under $300k but if you want to live in Downtown LA or a very “rich” neighborhood, well that’s your problem.

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