Homeownership continues to fall, and younger Americans will push it even lower.
Rising home prices, skyrocketing student loan debt, rising mortgage rates and changing life choices—any one factor would affect how and when people make the single largest investment of their lives. But add them up and the results are striking.
The nation's homeownership rate fell to 64.7 percent in the second quarter of this year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That is the lowest level in 19 years. Add to that just over one million homes with mortgages that are either delinquent or in the foreclosure process (per Black Knight Financial Services) and the rate is even lower than recorded.
As the economy improves, more people will buy homes, but younger Americans will wait longer. The typical age of a first-time homebuyer in 2002 was 31, according to the National Association of Realtors.
A Zillow survey of more than 100 economists and real estate experts found more than half of respondents expect that age to rise marginally, and nearly one quarter expect it to hit 34 or older over the next decade. This as millennials reach their prime home-buying years.