Gen X, it turns out, was more harmed by the housing crash than any other generational group, according to this analysis of federal data by The Wall Street Journal (subscription required). This is one reason the housing market is so twisted now and will likely stay that way for some time, according to the newspaper.

Compared with previous generations, Generation X went from the most successful in terms of home ownership rates in 2004 to the least successful by 2015, according to the data, which date to the early 1980s.

The culprit: a historic bull market for housing, fueled in part by easy-to-get mortgages, that encouraged record levels of home buying until the financial system cracked and the housing market collapsed. Earlier generations such as baby boomers, who entered the market before the frenzy of the early 2000s, have fared better.

Generation X “came into the market at precisely the wrong time,” said Rick Sharga, executive vice president at, an online real-estate brokerage. “We’ve effectively wiped out a group of homeowners who historically would have been on their second or third properties by now.”