Millennials: Bridging the Housing Market’s Racial Divide

Cardinal Financial November 7, 2017 | 3 min read
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Don’t look now, but Millennials are buying houses and breaking barriers.

They said it couldn’t be done, but the same Millennials who analysts deemed destined for a lifetime of renting are not only coming around to the idea of homeownership, they’re powering the housing market!

According to the NAR’s 2017 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study, Millennials were the largest group of home buyers (34%) for the fourth straight year. A far cry from their public perception as supermobile serial renters. Millennials may be the youngest generation of homeowners, but they’re also the largest and the most diverse. There are 83.1 million Millennials nationwide, and 44.2% are part of a minority race or ethnic group, meaning the increase in Millennial home buyers doesn’t just signify economic progress, it shows social progress as well. There’s been a wide disparity in homeownership rates between whites and minorities for more than a century, but with the upswing in Millennial homeowners, that gap is starting to close.

Why is this important?

The uptick in Millennial homeowners is indicative of the continued “integration” of communities. For years, minorities were barred from purchasing homes in many neighborhoods through government-enforced policies. Banks were legally allowed to deny federal loans to minorities and racial covenants in certain neighborhoods prevented homeowners from selling their houses to people based solely on the color of their skin. Legal discrimination denied minorities access to basic necessities that many people take for granted, and the effects of this discrimination are still visible today. The diversity of the Millennial generation will only expedite the diversification of American communities and provide access to resources that were denied to minorities for so long.

Along with the rise in Millennial homeownership comes a rise in economic growth and wealth-building opportunities for minorities. Many minority families lack the generational wealth that many white families have accrued over time due to the systemic discrimination of the 20th century. Owning a home plays a huge role in a family’s economic growth and can be a method of generating wealth to pass down to future generations. The gap in wealth between whites and minorities is even larger than the gap in homeownership, but Millennial buyers are seeing to it that these numbers gradually come closer together.

Focused on the future

For all the negative press Millennials get, they deserve some credit for unapologetically moving at their own pace. Sure, they were notably slow to enter the housing market, but they’re also marrying and having children later than past generations. If anything, the delay in home buying has given Millennials time to get their lives together, start families, and save money before taking on such an important investment. Their sudden interest in homeownership has paid dividends, not only in the economy, but in society as well. Throughout history, minorities haven’t been afforded the same opportunities as the majority, but Millennials are looking to even the score.

Are you a Millennial who’s thinking about getting on board with the home buying movement? We’d love to help! Give us a call and let’s get started.

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