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Millennials Prioritizing Homeownership Over Marriage

Many millennials are focusing on homeownership before marriage, according to the results of a survey from SunTrust. The survey reveals that, among more than 2,000 U.S. adults, nearly half of millennials (aged 22-38) who have been married say they and/or their spouse owned a home before marriage (48%), compared to only 35% of baby boomers (ages 55-73).

"People are choosing from many different paths and reaching common life milestones at a wider age span than before, changing when they decide to purchase a home," said Sherry Graziano, Mortgage Transformation Officer at SunTrust.

The survey also found that an increasing number of couples are entering marriage where both individuals own a home. According to the survey, 25% of unmarried women and 21% of unmarried men said, if faced with this decision, they would prefer to sell both places and buy a new one after getting married.

Additionally, the survey found that millennials, more than older generations, have convenience in mind when buying a home. Twenty-nine percent of millennial homeowners cited proximity to work as a determining factor when buying a home, compared to 18% of Gen X and 18% of baby boomers.

Overall, first-time buyers such as millennials continue to reshape the mortgage market. According to the latest First-Time Homebuyer Market Report from Genworth Mortgage Insurance, first-time buyers make up 38% of single-family homebuyers and 57% of new purchase borrowers.

“First-time homebuyers are typically different from other homebuyers, having less income and savings, but also are more likely to buy because they are starting a family versus changing jobs, retiring, or upgrading their home,” said Genworth Chief Economist Tian Liu. “For these reasons, the first-time homebuyer market and the rest of the housing market do not necessarily move together. Since 2014, home sales to first-time homebuyers have accounted for most of the growth while sales to repeat buyers have been largely flat.”

Young millennials are still reaching homebuying age. Genworth notes that the average homeownership rate increases from 35 percent to 60 percent as the head of household age goes from under-35 to between 35 and 44. However, while this propensity will continue to rise later in life, the increase will be less dramatic.

About Author: Seth Welborn

Seth Welborn is a Harding University graduate with a degree in English and a minor in writing. He is a contributing writer for MReport. An East Texas Native, he has studied abroad in Athens, Greece and works part-time as a photographer.
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