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Homeownership

Millennials aren’t moving, you guys

(HOMEOWNERSHIP) Millennials don’t have spouses, they don’t have houses, and they don’t have kids. Why are they staying put?

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mass non-migration

According to recently released U.S. Census Bureau data, millennials are not the passion-hunting rootless wanderers we often imagine them to be. In fact, they’re significantly more grounded than the last four generations, at least in latitude and longitude terms.

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Last year, only 20 percent of adults ages 25 to 35 reported living at a different address one year earlier. This represents a sharp drop for that age group, whose movement has been fairly steady for decades. In 2000, 26 percent of 25-35 year-old Gen-Xers had moved in the last year, and in 1963, 26 percent of 25-35 year-olds in the so-called Silent Generation had relocated.

what gives?

This relative immobility is surprising for a few reasons, also documented by the U.S. Census Bureau. First, millennials are less likely to be married than earlier generations of young adults, which points to more flexibility and mobility – if there’s only one person looking for a new job in a new town instead of two, it’s theoretically easier to make moving work. In the 25-35 year-old age group, only 42 percent of millennials reported cohabiting with a spouse in 2016, compared to 82 percent of Silents in 1963.

Second, fewer Millennials have to worry about selling a home they already own in order to pick up and move. Renters are generally more mobile than homeowners.

But while 56 percent of 25-35 year-old Early Boomers lived in owner-occupied housing (specifically not owned by their parents) in 1981, only 37 percent of millennials reported living in such housing last year.

Third, a whopping 56 percent of 25-35 year-old millennials were childless in 2016, while fewer than half of the past three generations were childless as young adults. No children should mean an easier move – no hunting for good schools or worrying about pulling kids away from friends, comfort zones, and doting grandparents.

So millennials don’t have spouses, they don’t have houses, and they don’t have kids. Why are they staying put?

recession remnants

The Recession could be playing a big part in the sudden downshift in mobility for millennials. Click To Tweet

Millennials were among those most affected, in terms of job-holding and salaries, and many young adults who did move in the past year were motivated by job opportunities, suggesting that the job market just isn’t strong enough for many to count on a potential job across the country.

Millennials are also up against tighter lending standards, tougher mortgages, and astronomical student debt, which makes it less appealing to move in order to own a home – especially if there aren’t any kids to make space for.

Whatever the reason, America’s youngest adult generation is growing geographically static. On the one hand, this could be a bad thing for employers, who may face a workforce more unwilling or generally unlikely to follow a job, or come to a job, than ever before. On the other hand, this could be a good thing for cities and towns looking to build real communities of people invested in the place they live, not just stopping on their way to the next big thing.

#millennialmobility

Staff Writer, Natalie Bradford earned her B.A. in English from Cornell University and spends a lot of time convincing herself not to bake MORE brownies. She enjoys cats, cocktails, and good films - preferably together. She is currently working on a collection of short stories.

Homeownership

Demand for newly built homes soars, but so is the cost of lumber

[HOMEOWNERSHIP] Many potential buyers are looking for newly built homes, but will builders be able to meet this demand with lumber prices on the rise?

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lumber

COVID-19 has had an undeniable effect on the U.S. economy. In the housing market, increased interest in single-family, new-construction homes has given builders a bright spot in the crisis. Builder confidence in this market has now reached a 35-year high, but builders are not out of the woods yet.

Potential homebuyers are showing up in hoards (figuratively speaking, we hope) this fall with a keen interest in new-construction homes. Buyers looking to take advantage of record-low interest rates are knocking on model home doors, seeking improved living arrangements with more space and functionality. The market sentiment for single-family homes is positive, but rising lumber prices are tempering home builders’ excitement for booming business.

Many white-collar workers are staring down an indefinite stretch of remote working arrangements, with some large tech companies even considering making the change to remote work permanent. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced workers to make big shifts in their everyday life. These lifestyles changes, along with low interest rates, have prompted a new wave of homebuyers.

Unfortunately for builders, the pandemic has had a much harder impact on blue-collar workers and a negative impact on supply and demand. While office workers sit on their couches and open up their laptops to Zillow, places like lumber mills and factories had no choice but to shut down during the height (if that is even past us) of the pandemic.

Many lumber mills and factories remain closed or are dealing with severe labor shortages as these blue-collar workers are disproportionately affected by the pandemic and access to adequate health care.

Prior to shutdowns, the market was not expecting this type of boom in new-construction interest from homebuyers. Builders are now seeing lumber prices rise as a result of increased demand and dwindling supplies.

Mortgage rates hit record lows in early August, and while those have risen somewhat since then, it is unlikely that rates will skyrocket anytime soon. With no end to the pandemic in sight for the U.S., potential homebuyers will keep coming and builders will just have to deal with the premium on lumber for the foreseeable future.

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Homeownership

The split realities of renters vs. homeowners

(HOMEOWNERSHIP) The housing market is telling a tale of two countries: Between renters and homeowners, wealth inequality has split the country in two.

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The pandemic has generated a tidal wave of house hunters attempting to relocate; previously ignored markets all across the country, particularly in suburban areas, are awash with new clients eagerly seeking an escape from expensive and densely populated cities. Record low mortgage interest rates in the US have only bolstered this migration scramble. The ultra-wealthy are even opting to leave the US entirely, fleeing to regions with fewer cases, such as New Zealand.

Renters, on the other hand, generally don’t have the luxury of being able to afford a house. Most are currently trapped between a rock and a hard place (proverbially speaking).

The extra unemployment assistance granted by the CARES Act, which was helping countless Americans pay rent, expired two weeks ago alongside the federal eviction moratorium. State and local moratoriums on evictions are also withering away. Young adults have holed up with their parents where they can (myself included). Meanwhile, the Senate continues to deliberate on the details of the HEROES Act, which – hopefully – will extend the $600 weekly unemployment bonus, and provide more stimulus checks to people in need.

As renters face destitution, landlords have in turn seen their incomes dry up. Twitter is rich with specific examples of threats and harassment received by tenants from their landlords for failure to pay rent, despite the unemployment crisis, and the cutthroat job competition it’s created. In all fairness, though, small landlords are themselves facing similar heat from their banks. One survey of landlords in Massachusetts, performed by MassLandlords, showed that one-fifth did not know how they would make ends meet this year – clearly a ripple effect from this preventable rental crisis.

The role of demographics here is important to note, as is often the case when housing is concerned. Of course, Millennials have been mostly relegated to renting for a long time. It’s been a meme among my generation for the better part of a decade that very few Millennials will ever end up buying homes, and Gen Z is on a fast track to join us. Not to mention that the historical impact of redlining, which extends several decades, has yet to be reconciled. It can still be seen in the national rates of homeownership which are disproportionately low among non-white, and particularly Black, Americans.

If youth, people of color, and impoverished renters are about to face mass nationwide evictions, the HEROES Act is their best shot at a miracle. But if it fails… then, I guess, Congress will ask that they eat cake.

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Homeownership

Hilarious things that are left behind when people move out of their house

(HOMEOWNERSHIP) People often forget what changes and additions they’ve made to a house until it is too late. This Twitter thread is a hilarious reminder to take everything with you when you leave.

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hidden in house

There are moments when social media brings people together and gives us comedy gold. Have you ever left something behind when you moved, something that while maybe not so crucially important to you, will definitely offer an interesting insight into your life? Such as a message written behind a wall, or a note hidden in an air duct? Well a twitter thread posted earlier this week opened up Pandora’s box for amusements on this topic and some of these are just getting stranger and stranger.

The original poster, @KaylaKumari, brought it up originally when she asked her mother, who had just recently moved out of her last home, if she’d uninstalled the special fire alarms that she recorded in her voice yelling, “GET OUT OF THE HOUSE BECAUSE MOM’S CANDLES CAUGHT THE HOUSE ON FIRE”. A perfect line, short and succinct. Now some poor family is going to have a fire and some woman’s voice will be ushering them out instead of an alarm. Hopefully there won’t be too much confusion there.

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My parents sold their house like a month ago but my mother JUST realized she did not uninstall the special fire alarms she had put in that are a recording of her own voice screaming at me and my sister to “GET OUT OF THE HOUSE BECAUSE MOM’S CANDLES CAUGHT THE HOUSE ON FIRE”

After that, the tweets and retweets just kept coming. Some of them mostly relating to habits or forgotten moments. In four days, the post has gotten over 17K retweets and/or comments and some of these are gems.

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A lot of people seem to enjoy feeding wildlife as well. Lots of fun shocks to go around. I would recommend however, to disclose that upon sale of the house so you don’t get sued. But this just goes to show that social media can be nice sometimes. A nice uplifting moment in our days.

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