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Gen Zers increasingly fear that homeownership is a hopeless dream

Business Insider India logo Business Insider India 23-11-2022 Kelsey Neubauer
Gen Zers increasingly fear that homeownership is a hopeless dream © valentinrussanov/Getty Images Gen Zers increasingly fear that homeownership is a hopeless dream
  • Gen Z's outlook on homeownership has darkened since 2019, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac.
  • Primary obstacles include student loan debt, down payments and lack of job security.

For a growing number in Gen Z, the last few years have quashed all hopes of ever being able to afford a home.

About 34% of the youngest generational cohort — ages 14 to 25 — don't think they'll ever be able to afford their own house, according to a Freddie Mac study released this month. That's up from 27% who felt that way the last time the survey was done in 2019, according to the report.

Some of these young adults are taking to social media to express their anxiety and frustration, and to ask for help. Facebook user JJ Fay, who said she was 23, explained that she owed money — including student loan debt — but hoped that there was still way to buy a home despite the sorry state of her credit.

"What is the best way to raise my credit?" she asked with a screenshot of a credit score of 556, which is considered very poor, according to Insider's personal finance team. Fay did not respond to Insider's request for comment.

Fay's not alone. In fact, two of the reasons she was down on the prospect of homeownership came up in the study.

The weight of student debt was among the top complaints fielded by Freddie Mac. Of the 1,749 that responded to Freddie Mac's survey, 22% said their obligations to repaying college and other academic loans were the reasons it was so hard to buy a home.

Some 39% in the survey said that saving for a down payment made it difficult, 27% said they didn't have a long enough credit history, 27% said their jobs were too unstable, and 11% indicated that they'd racked up too much credit card debt.

On top of these struggles, these young adults also have to contend with a real estate market with fundamentals that — until recently, in some cities — are making it even more difficult to buy. In addition to 30-year mortgage rates above 6% and the ongoing dearth of homes on the market, home prices are just out of reach, Pam Perry, Freddie Mac's single family vice president of equitable housing said in a release about the survey.

Younger Americans are also looking particularly overextended with their credit card debt, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

"Gen Z has taken notice and their hopes of homeownership have waned as the potential issues they may face in purchasing a home have become front and center," Perry said, in the release.

It's not that these adults don't want to own homes, according to the study — they think that owning a home provides "privacy," and "independence" — they simply can't see how they'll ever be able to swing it financially, according to the study.

There have been some who were able to beat the worsening odds and buy a home before the age of 25, however. Insider interviewed five of them earlier this year and found that one, to avoid a down payment, found a credit union willing to provide 100% of the financing, and another that took advantage of a state program that provides help to first-time homebuyers.

Still, the majority of Gen Z can't seem to get its finances up to snuff, as some numbers bear out. For example, the average age of the first-time homebuyer rose this year from 33 to 36, according to the National Association of Realtors.

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