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Millennials, Again, Inch Toward Homeownership

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Millennials, Again, Inch Toward Homeownership

It's been two months since a chorus of media outlets and perpetually optimistic brokers associations predicted a coming wave of millennial home purchases. And renting is in no danger of fading away given generational trends toward marrying and having kids later in life, not to mention residual cynicism about homeownership following the subprime crisis.

Still, reports arrived this week bearing fresh flickers of good news. A National Association of Realtors survey found that the percentage of existing homes sold to first-time buyers in February (29%) increased (albeit by 1%) for the first time since last November. The NAR also reported that last year Millennials, or the Americans born between 1981 and 2000, comprised 32% of the housing market, surpassing their elders in Generation X as the best represented population segment. Granted, far more Gen Xers have already settled into home ownership. But since the younger half of Millennials are still in or barely out of college, the feat is noteworthy.

Realtor.com has also jumped into the ring, with figures showing Millennials as 70% more likely than average to have bought a home last year. And with the job market in good health for the first time in many Millenials' adult working lives, their delayed dive into homeownership should make big strides in the coming months.

Finally, a Zillow Housing Confidence Index released this month showed the number of renters planning to buy in the coming year jumping to 5.2M from 4.2M in 2014. Chicago, Las Vegas and San Francisco were among the cities with a surge in 18- 34-year-old renters hoping to leave (prohibitively expensive) renting behind.