“New normal” is a phrase we’ve become familiar with in this post-bubble real estate industry. It describes the current landscape of home prices that are lower than their peak but still healthy and steadily rising, stricter lending standards, and continued low (albeit slightly rising) interest rates.
But if you think about it, the term “new normal” really just connotes a recent change. I should know, I just had a baby five months ago – believe me, I’m living in a new normal.
So I’d like to point out another new normal: the situation of the Millennial generation.
I’m sure you’ve read reports saying that many young adults are putting off buying a house because they’re strapped with college loan debt (which, the New York Times aptly points out, is due to rising tuition costs outpacing income levels, among other reasons). More Millennials are returning to their parents’ homes after college to save money. They’re delaying both marriage and starting a family. Many of them are still trying to decide if they ever want to get married and/or have children.
But what else do we know about Gen Y?
Yes, they have higher student loan debt than previous generations, but they’re also more highly educated. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 66.2 percent of 2012 high school graduates are enrolled in colleges or universities (71.3 percent of young women and 61.3 percent of young men), as compared to 61.7 percent of grads who went to college in 1992 and 49.2 percent 40 years ago. More are seeking higher post-graduate degrees as well. And overall, Gen Y has less debt from material items than older generations, shying away from credit cards and fancy cars.
There’s also one more thing we know about Millennials: They love houses — or at least the idea of a owning a home of their own. Continue reading »