Today’s home financing landscape, thanks to the economic downturn and other factors, is hardly straightforward.
Of all the area’s of the homebuying process, the financing stage could very well be the most complicated. After all, it’s one thing to find that perfect home, but it’s entirely different matter to come up with the necessary funds to purchase that home – especially in today’s increasingly nuanced and conservative mortgage marketplace.
So in our continuing coverage of NAR’s latest Generational Trends study, we’re looking at the financial stage, and how NAR’s findings mirror much of our past reporting on the U.S.’ financial standing.
Here are the five big trends we learned:
1. Financing is King – We know, the actual line goes “Cash is King,” but the overwhelming share of homebuyers last year (88 percent, in fact) opted for mortgages to finance their purchase. That said, there was a considerable gap between the newest and oldest generations, with 97 percent of Millennials financing and just 61 percent of Silent Generation buyers.
2. Younger the Buyer, the Smaller the Down Payment – Additionally, the average down payments for Millennials were much smaller than their fellow generations. While Silent Generation buyers put down 22 percent and Gen Xers put down 10 percent, Millennials put down just 7 percent, a stat that is hardly surprising given our reporting on wage stagnation/decline.
3. The Difficulty of Saving – Only 12 percent of buyers reported that saving for a down payment was difficult, but as is always the case, the devil is in the thorny details. Among Gen X and Millennial buyers, that share jumped to 15 and 22 percent, respectively, with 54 percent of those Millennials reporting that student debt held them back from saving. Given that Millennials now make up the largest share of homebuyers, that 12 percent statistic is perhaps less encouraging than it seems.
4. Ain’t No Stompin’ This Optimism – Despite low down payments and the difficulty in saving for that down payment, Millennials remain an exquisitely optimistic bunch when it comes to homes being good financial investments. In fact, 84 percent of Millennials considered their home a good investment, compared with 72 percent of buyers aged 69 years and older.