August 13, 2023
The Washington Post told readers that the current generation of young people is finding it much harder to become homeowners than young people did in the past. The data disagree with this claim. While young people (under age 35) did become homeowners at higher rates in the early and mid-eighties and the late 1990s until the collapse of the housing bubble, the group that was young from 1990 to 1997, and since 2011, were less likely to be homeowners that those under age 35 today, as shown below.
Source: Census Bureau and author’s calculation.
There is no doubt that the recent run-up in mortgage interest rates has made it much more difficult for first-time homebuyers, and if they stay anywhere near current levels we will likely see a drop in homeownership rates among the young. (The average for the first two quarters is already down slightly from the 2022 level.) However, the idea that the current generation of young people is finding it uniquely difficult to become homeowners simply is not true.