Young Americans can afford their first slice of suburbia but are putting picket-fence dreams of homeownership on hold.

The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) reports that over a half of Americans between the ages of 35 to 34 that are living in major metropolitan areas can afford the monthly costs of homeownership.

30 percent of those able to become first-time homeowners, however, are choosing to remain in their parents’ homes and in cheap, crammed rentals.

This indicates a definite, and sudden, decrease in millennials buying homes. From 2009-2011, 3.3 million home sales went to first-time buyers, a 22 percent drop from 2001.

Despite news that interest rates on new homes are at record lows since the onset of the 2007 financial crisis, data from JCHS suggests persistently high unemployment rates and lingering memories of the 2007 crisis as grounds to avoid the costs of homeownership.

Such data, moreover, coincides with recent trends of millennials delaying aspirations of marriage, suburbia and career stability for their thirties.

Their twenties, instead, are reserved for one last bout of risk-taking and experimentation before the comforts of settling down.


Thomas Freeman is Texas-transplant and aspiring journalist trying (but often failing) to navigate New York City. A current NYU student, Thomas also writes articles and manages media content for 20to30.

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