The national homeownership rate has struggled to regain traction since the pre-recession housing peak. Last month, a report from the Census Bureau showed the United States homeownership rate improved to 63.9% in the third quarter, up slightly from second quarter’s 63.7% and significantly from last year’s 63.5%. One of the notable finds from the report was the resurgence in Generation X homeowners, the generation most impacted by the housing crisis.
Based on the Census bracket, Gen X, or the 35-44 age group, showed the most significant improvement in homeownership. According to Trulia chief economist, Ralph McLaughlin, Gen X was “really hit hard by the crisis,” but, “last quarter seems to be an inflection point. Renters are making the conversion to buying.”
Gen X also tends to spend more on a home than Millennials and Baby Boomers. Realtor.com reports that in September 2017, the median purchase price of a home financed by Gen Xers was $280,000, compared with a median purchase price of $237,000 for Millennials and a median purchase price of $258,000 for Baby Boomers.
The homeownership rate has stumbled since housing crisis recovery for a number of reasons, and many of these reasons can be attributed to the difficulty to save for a down payment. Former homeowners who lost their home to foreclosure are struggling to rebuild equity, and potential first-time home buyers report difficulty in simultaneously saving for a down payment, while paying skyrocketing rents. As home prices continue to appreciate, the value of the down payment will increase. Programs like HomeFundMe make it possible for home buyers to augment down payment savings and stay competitive.