In 2013, the typical first-time homebuyer was 31 years old, according to the National Association of Realtorsi. Panelists were asked for their expectations regarding the median first-time homebuyer age over the next decade as Millennials reach their prime home-buying years. Among those expressing an opinion, 61 percent said they thought the median first-time homebuyer age would rise marginally, to 32 or 33, with another 24 percent saying they expected the median age would rise to 34 or older.
“Because of its huge size and great diversity of housing preferences and opinions, the Millennial generation will have enormous influence in coming years, especially as they hold off on getting married and having children, the two biggest reasons for first-time home purchases,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries. “A lower homeownership rate because of these demographic shifts will have a ripple effect, keeping rents high and potentially impacting the broader economy if substantially fewer people pay property taxes and buy fewer home goods. But while the age of first-time homebuyers may rise, it is dangerous to assume Millennials don’t want to buy at all. Recent Zillow research concluded that millions of current renters do want to buy soon, despite headwinds that may end up delaying their purchase. And when they do, policymakers, planners and developers will need to ensure that housing is accessible, affordable and desirable to this new generation of homeowners.”
Panelists were asked what they thought the homeownership rate would be in five years. Among those expressing an opinion, 57 percent said they thought the rate would be lower than the first quarter 2014 seasonally adjusted rate of 64.8 percent. After the survey was completed, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that the seasonally adjusted U.S. homeownership rate fell to 64.7 percent in the second quarter, the lowest rate since the second quarter of 1995ii.