These days, first-time homebuyers, who are primarily in their 30s, are spending a bigger chunk of their incomes to buy their first house — coughing up about 2.6 times their annual pay; in the 1970s, first-time homebuyers purchased homes that cost only about 1.7 times their yearly salary, according to Zillow.
Tighter lending standards and hefty down payments have further deterred some buyers.
The majority of non-homeowners polled said they did not know how much money would be required for a down payment on a hypothetical home purchase, according to Bankrate. And although most buyers typically put 20 percent down, it is possible to get an FHA loan with just 3.5 percent or a conventional loan with as little as 3 percent down.
As a result, rental occupancy is at the highest level in 30 years and homeownership, which peaked in 2005, is at the lowest level in half a century.
Millennials, more than those in other generations, were most likely to say they don't want to own a home right now. Because of their hefty financial obligations, such as student debt, they are also postponing getting married and starting a family, according to a separate survey by TD Ameritrade, which polled 1,000 adults age 18 and older.
Forty-eight percent of those polled said their financial constraints prompted them to delay buying a house, while 38 percent said they put off having children and 29 percent said they postponed getting married.