Where Millennials Are Buying Homes

Millennials have found themselves in the midst of a perfect storm when it comes to homebuying: Overwhelming student loan debt and lower earnings have made it difficult, if not impossible, for these young adults to save for a down payment – a situation made worse by the relatively low number of affordable starter homes on the market. The result? Millennials are the largest generation of adults, yet they account for just 7.5% of the value of all U.S. homes.

A 10-Year Trend

Today’s young adults account for a much smaller portion of homeowners than in previous years, but that trend isn’t exclusive to Millennials. According to a report from ABODO, an apartment listing company, the downward shift in homeownership may have started with Generation X. “Since 2005, long before many Millennials were old enough to drive, young adults 18-to-35-years-old have been buying houses at a slower and slower rate,” says ABODO. The percentage of young-adult homeowners steadily declined from 2005 – when 39.5% of young adults were homeowners – to 2015, when that number fell to 32.1%.

New Hope

The oldest Millennials, who are just beginning to reach their mid-30s – and with that, some financial stability – are finally starting to become homeowners. About one third (32.1%) of Millennials nationwide own their homes, but the numbers are much higher in certain markets. Ogden-Clearfield, Utah, a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) just north of Salt Lake City with a population of about 600,000, leads the pack. Here, slightly more than half (51%) of Millennials own homes, which is 10% higher than the state’s average.

As Millennials start to enter the U.S. homebuying market, the industry is watching and waiting to see if the trend holds. In the meantime, here are 10 markets where Millennials are buying homes today – and 10 where they are not.

Note: To come up with these lists, ABODO analyzed the 100 largest MSAs by population using data from the U.S. Census Bureau 2015 American Community Survey to find the highest and lowest percentage of Millennial households that are owners.

Where Millennials Are Buying Homes

1. Ogden-Clearfield, Utah

Millennials who own homes: 51.0%

2. Grand Rapids-Wyoming, Mich.

Millennials who own homes: 45.3%

3. Des Moines-West Des Moines, Iowa

Millennials who own homes: 43.6%

4. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas

Millennials who own homes: 43.3%

5. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn.-Wis.

Millennials who own homes: 42.4%

6. Scranton-Wilkes-Barre-Hazleton, Pa.

Millennials who own homes: 41.9%

7. Baton Rouge, La.

Millennials who own homes: 41.0%

8. Boise City, Idaho

Millennials who own homes: 40.6%

9. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, Mich.

Millennials who own homes: 40.2%

10. St. Louis, Mo.-Ill.

Millennials who own homes: 40.2%

Where Millennials Aren’t Buying Homes

1. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, Calif.

Millennials who own homes: 17.8%

2. Urban Honolulu, Hawaii

Millennials who own homes: 18.3%

3. San Diego-Carlsbad, Calif.

Millennials who own homes: 19.8%

4. New York-Newark-Jersey City, N.Y.-N.J.-Pa.

Millennials who own homes: 19.8%

5. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.

Millennials who own homes: 20.2%

6. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif.

Millennials who own homes: 20.5%

7. Fresno, Calif.

Millennials who own homes: 23.6%

8. New Haven-Milford, Conn.

Millennials who own homes: 24.4%

9. Madison, Wis.

Millennials who own homes: 24.7%

10. Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C.

Millennials who own homes: 25.2%

The Bottom Line

Millennials are least likely to own homes in expensive coastal cities or smaller college towns, where renting is typically more feasible than ownership. Not surprisingly, the MSAs where Millennials are buying tend to be the less expensive markets in small-to-midsize cities in the Midwest, South and Southwest. Although Millennials are finally starting to jump into the housing market, they account for just 7.5% of the value of U.S. homes, even though they are the largest generation of adults – which may indicate that Millennials are jumping cautiously into less expensive homes. (See also: The Real Reasons Millennials Aren’t Buying Homes and Best Cities for First-Time Homebuyers in 2017.)