What’s Stopping Texan Millennials From Buying Homes?

With Texas cities ranking among the best places for millennials to live, members of this aging youth demographic want to pass an important milestone: homeownership.

By Brenda SalinasMay 20, 2015 10:55 am

Despite low prices in the oil patch, the housing market is still looking very strong through much of Texas. And with Texas cities ranking among the best places for millennials to live, members of this now aging generation want to pass an important milestone: homeownership. The instant-gratification generation is drumming up plenty of business for companies willing to accommodate their shopping style.

Almost a third of Texans are under 30. By comparison, Baby Boomers make up one fifth of the state. And now, a study by the Urban Land Institute has found that more than half of all young adults 19-36 want to own a home someday. Deborah Brett co-authored the study.

“Generation Yers are still very much interested in homeownership,” she says. “Most of them see themselves as homeowners, just not right now.”

What Brett calls generation Y, other people call millennials. If every person in this group who wanted to buy a home bought one, this would be the largest home-buying generation in history, just by its sheer size.

But for many millennials, homeownership seems like a far-off dream.

“I think the ability to become a homeowner is tougher than it was in prior generations,” Brett says.

In some big cities like Austin – where the real estate market has been at historic highs – it’s actually cheaper to rent than buy a home. Houston and in Antonio are headed that way – Thanks to rising home prices there too.

Martin Walner manages high-tech boarding houses for recent grads. One’s in Austin. He says most of his residents want to be homeowners one day, but he’s not sure that will happen.

“I think a lot of people want to own a home at some point in their life, because they see it as a goal in their life one of the check boxes to reach, but especially single people,” Walner says.  “They wouldn’t want to have a home that early on because there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with it and I think a lot of it is also jobs, it’s a very competitive job market out there.

Plus, millennials aren’t very handy. A third of the young homeowners polled in the study said they have no idea how to do necessary maintenance and repairs. Twenty percent said being a homeowner costs way more than they thought it would.

That means there are a lot of business opportunities there. Rick Orr runs a website that’s kind of like Pinterest for home listings.

“They’re very much bringing the industry forward in allowing for instant gratification from everything from finding homes to getting a quick response to whether or not we can go look at the listing on Saturday,” Orr says.

These apps and websites become even more popular in such a hot real estate market.