I read some research by Zillow recently that reflected on why young, highly-educated millennials (more than typical American workers and much more than their non-college-educated peers) are struggling to become homeowners — despite being disproportionately likely to work high-paying tech jobs in some of the nation’s fastest-growing and dynamic cities.
There are a number of reasons for their real estate struggle.
They are choosing to live in apartments. They are marrying later in life. They are burdened with unyielding student loans. They need to save for a down payment. And, in some areas, there aren’t very many homes to choose from.
Yet, they have so much impact on the real estate market as a whole.
I’ve written about Millennials a lot. Mostly because I find this age group fascinating, but also because they are a huge part of the workforce — and, as such, they have a huge impact on so many things.
I find it really interesting that they are facing this struggle with homeownership, when there are articles being written about “Why Millennials Should Invest in Commercial Real Estate” or “How Millennials are Impacting Office Layout” or “Tactics to Market Your Multifamily Property to Millennials”… the list goes on.
Rather than spout off about how Millennials are impacting X. Y. and Z., maybe we should be working to embrace, understand, and help them with their real estate journeys?
Here are some quick thoughts…
#1. Homeownership Incentive Programs
Wouldn’t it be great if companies that employ a swath of Millennials offered programs that aided or encouraged homeownership? Maybe through down payment assistance or matching? Just a thought.
I did a quick search to learn that, in Seattle, some mortgage originators now agree to consider Amazon employees’ potential future earnings from restricted stock units — which can make up the majority of their compensation package — as income for the purposes of qualifying for home loans. Is this scary or brilliant?
I talk frequently about the importance of mentorship programs in the workplace — and in life, in general. The knowledge you can gain (at any age or experience level) from having a mentor is limitless. Perhaps this is another way that we can help foster homeownership among Millennials.
Perhaps senior members of the workplace can share their experiences and best practices to help make homeownership — or at least real estate literacy — more achievable for their Millennial co-workers.
#3. Tackling Student Loan Debt
That Zillow article I read said that more than a quarter (28.2%) of U.S. twenty-somethings with college degrees live with a parent — thanks to rising housing costs and increased loan debt. The question becomes, do we have the right programs in place to help Millennials with their debt?
I’ve heard of law offices and hospitals helping new hires with their student loans. I’ve also heard of programs for teachers that reduce loan debt if you work in the public school system for a certain period of time… these are all steps in the right direction.