These 95 million people ages 10 to 32 outnumber their baby-boomer parents by 10 million. The young adults among them, sobered by the recession, have relatively modest material expectations; many say they’d be happy with smaller living spaces.
The housing industry will have to convince the next generation that home loans are as necessary and prudent as the student debt so many of them already carry. Young Americans have already showed a strong aversion to credit card and other consumer debt after seeing their families’ affluence “yanked out from under” their elders by the housing crisis and the Great Recession, as one expert put it during an Anaheim housing conference this week.
Fast growth in student loans presents a particularly vexing issue, as often high monthly payments make it impossible for some young adults to save for a down payment or fit a mortgage into their monthly budget — especially in expensive markets such as California.
Many millennials can’t even afford to leave their parents’ homes to rent their own apartments, much less buy a home of their own, said USC social-trend scholar Morley Winograd, coauthor of “Millennial Momentum: How a New Generation Is Remaking America.”
“We haven’t done well by this generation in terms of opportunities,” Winograd said Monday at the No Place Like Home conference, sponsored by builders’ groups at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel. “We tell them they have to go to college to get ahead these days, but there’s no GI Bill to pay for their education,” as there was for veterans of World War II.