Gen Z is making gains in homeownership amid mounting affordability challenges for buyers — and some are even ahead of previous generations.
Although the growth of Gen Z’s homeownership rate slowed in 2023, these housing market newcomers are still managing to put down roots. More than a quarter of Gen Zers between 19 and 25 owned a home last year, according to recent report from real estate brokerage Redfin.
That’s a bit better than how Gen Xers and millennials were doing when they were in that age range. It’s also a pretty big flex when you consider that adult Gen Zers have had to contend with factors like inflation, climbing mortgage rates and record-breaking home prices over the past few years.
Where is Gen Z able to make such impressive homebuying achievements when costs are so expensive? A separate analysis from real estate site Point2Homes found that cities in the Midwest and South offer some key advantages for young home shoppers.
Gen Z homeownership
Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, Redfin found that roughly 26.3% of Gen Zers between 19 and 25 owned a home in 2023. While that rate is pretty much unchanged from the previous year’s 26.2%, Gen Zers in this range are still outpacing the last two generations.
The homeownership rate for 24-year-old Gen Zers is 27.8%, while only 24.5% of Gen Xers and 23.5% of millennials could say the same at that age. This may be surprising given the plethora of challenges Americans in general have experienced since 2020: namely, COVID-era economic turmoil, a homebuying frenzy that sent prices and competition soaring, skyrocketing inflation, all-time-high U.S. consumer debt levels more home price increases and surging interest rates. Big yikes.
Given the circumstances, you might assume that the youngest adults would be tracking behind their predecessors on the homeownership front. But according to Redfin, record-low mortgage rates during the earlier months of the pandemic gave Gen Z a window to purchase homes.
Where are these homeowners primarily living? The analysis from Point2Homes found that North Las Vegas, Nevada, and Chesapeake Virginia — where about 1 in 3 Gen Z residents own a home — have the highest young homeownership rates of all the major cities in the U.S.
“Gen Zers have done their research. They know all of the real estate jargon and are entering the housing market more educated than prior generations,” Redfin Premier agent Jon Byram said in the report. "My youngest buyers handled the pandemic homebuying frenzy the best.”
Young first-time buyers are also making their homeownership dreams come true by getting financial help from family members and co-buying with them, Byram adds. Some have savings from living at home instead of renting.
Bear in mind that older members of Gen Z haven't fared as well as the younger adults in their generation in terms of buying homes. The homeownership rate for 26-year-old Gen Zers is 30%, slightly below that of millennials and Gen Xers when they were the same age.
Overall, Redfin Chief Economist Darly Fairweather said in the report that “things are looking up for Gen Z" in 2024. Affordability is expected to improve slightly for everyone as mortgage rates, rents and home price growth cool, finally giving some sidelined buyers an opportunity to get a foot in the door.
“Plus, the job market is strong, and career opportunities have become less concentrated in expensive cities during the remote work era, meaning many Gen Zers can choose to live somewhere more affordable,” Fairweather says.
Top 10 cities for Gen Z to buy homes
Cities in the Midwest and South make up the most of the list of places where Gen Zers may find homeownership more accessible, according to the analysis from Point2Homes. That’s mostly thanks to favorable home price-to-income ratios, lower unemployment rates among adults under 25 and the number of days homes tend to stay on the market in these areas.
These are the top 10 metropolitan areas where it could be easier for Gen Zers to become homeowners:
- Fort Wayne, Indiana
- Corpus Christi, Texas
- Detroit, Michigan
- Laredo, Texas
- Memphis, Tennessee
- Lincoln, Nebraska
- Durham, North Carolina
- Fort Worth, Texas
- Aurora, Colorado
- Scottsdale, Arizona — no. 9 on Money's list of Best Places to Live
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