There’s No Place Like Home… If You Can Afford One

By Kendyl Brower

What is home to you? For most millennials, a home is an unattainable dream. No, these millennials aren’t splurging on avocado toast or expensive lattes. Home ownership in 35 and younger has plummeted from 54.9% in 2002 to 37.8% in 2020 (Census Bureau). With rising housing costs, stagnant wages, and young adults drowning in student loans, it seems as though achieving the American dream is simply not possible anymore. 

According to a 2019 Unison report, it takes 14 years to save up for a 20% down payment on a median-priced home if you have median income. Want to live in a big city? In LA, it will take 43 years to save for a down payment, San Francisco, 40, and NYC, 36. Evidently, the median income is not strong enough to carry younger adults into homeownership, though 72% of renters want a home in the future (Unison). On top of the low wages and heavy housing costs, the majority of millennials must deal with staggering student loans. It’s no wonder that millennials are stuck in apartments, condos, or even their parent’s basement. The Pew Research Center found that today’s average wages have the same purchasing power it did 40 years ago. Juxtapose this with the spike in housing prices, and the millennial housing crisis proves grim. As a soon to be student-debt-ridden citizen, I am scared for my peers and I to enter adulthood with the notion that we might not own a home till our 40s.