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'Disenfranchised' millennials feel 'locked out' of the housing market and it taints every part of economic life, top economist Mark Zandi says

fortune.com 'Disenfranchised' millennials feel 'locked out' of the housing market and it taints every part of economic life, top economist Mark Zandi says

“If they feel like they're locked out of owning a home it colors their perceptions about everything else going on in their financial lives,” Zandi says.

Few milestones in life mean as much to the American Dream as owning a home. And millennials have encountered the kind of trouble totally befitting their generation, which largely graduated into the teeth of the disastrous post-2008 job market. Just as they entered peak homebuying and household formation age, housing affordability is at 40-year lows, and mortgage rates are near 40-year highs.

The anxiety this generation feels about the prospect of never owning their own home affects their entire perception of their finances and the economy, says Moody’s chief economist Mark Zandi.

“If they feel like they’re locked out of owning a home it colors their perceptions about everything else going on in their financial lives,” Zandi says.

Millennials have long been dogged by a brutal housing market. They faced not one, but two, cataclysmic economic events—the Great Financial Crisis in 2008 and the pandemic in 2020. Both of which left them reeling financially and struggling to afford a home. The Great Recession decimated the real estate market as the economy nearly collapsed under the weight of tenuous mortgage backed securities. While the pandemic brought with it a remote work boom that caused millions of citydwellers to flee to the suburbs, sending housing prices soaring.

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  • They really need to STFU with this "Millennials" crap. The entire population aside from the rich are being affected by the now destroyed economy. Nobody is getting a house outside of unusual circumstances.

    183
  • I loved going to my grandfather’s house as a kid. It wasn’t mine, but it felt like it belonged to all of us. He built it with his own hands. I put my little handprints in the basement. My aunt inherited it when he died. I can go there today and look in the closet where I wrote all of my relative’s phone numbers on the wall for emergencies when I was 5 years old. Every one of his grandkids can go to that house and see their life everywhere. They can feel connected to their family and their memories.

    My aunt’s kids have grown up there now, her daughter graduates this year. She’ll be able to have that same experience.

    If I ever have grandkids, they’ll have to drive by the shit apartments that I’m stuck in and feel nothing.

    Millennials existed in a world where they seen ownership, experienced ownership. Our movies belonged to us. Our games belonged to us. Everything is a service or something we can’t afford.

    I love my Steam Deck, but nothing on it belongs to me. That is the world I live in from the top to the bottom.

    If I want to remove the ugly 1970s wood paneling and paint my living space to match me as a person, nope. Gotta ask my fucking owner and he’ll say no. He could sell it tomorrow or die, and if they tell me to get lost, I gotta get lost.

    I took over payments on my childhood home when I was 21. The roof hadn’t been repaired in my lifetime. When I was a kid I put a tarp over my desk to keep the rain from destroying my computer. When I was 23 I fell through the floor in the bathroom.

    If I had known just how hard it would be to obtain a place of my own, I wouldn’t have let that place go. I would have lived in it until it collapsed. If I could go back in time I’d tell younger me to suck whatever dick I had to suck to keep it, right there in that terrible poverty stricken hellhole of an Appalachian neighborhood.

    My mom bought that place for 40k. 5 bedrooms. A huge house. We were poor so we couldn’t keep with repairs, but it was ours.

    I don’t know. Bums me the fuck out. I’d love to have a home for my children.

    120
  • Are we supposed to think it’s normal that millennials are the first generation in modern American history who will die younger and poorer than their parents?

    On average a quarter of millennial parents’ combined income goes to childcare. That is bizarre and unprecedented. Is it normal that they have 1/10th the wealth their parents did at the same age? That very few of them will retire?

    People are unhappy because their lives suck. Millennials have iPhones and cars, sure. But these are toys. They aren’t important. What’s important is family, community, access to nature, good health, education, accomplishments, creative outlets, hope for the future. Instead we have YouTube and Samsung and other distracting material garbage that all the neoliberals think amounts to anything. Ridiculous.

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  • I’d love to buy a house, I really would. But even with our salaries combined my wife and I won’t be able to do it any time soon. And it sucks

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  • It's a shame that FHAs are gatekept with PMI, even for those with great credit. I'm on a VA Loan which is probably responsible for the vast majority of mortgages in my age group ('96). With good credit on FHA you only need 3.5% down minimum but will need to carry PMI either way which has been historically expensive and has never gotten cheaper. Tack on the considerable rise in both interest rates and prices at the same time the past year or so, it all looks pretty bleak. I am just so fortunate we locked in at 2.35% in an area which hasn't ever seen decline in home values other than a blip in '08, but it took military service to even qualify for. This doesn't even bring up my degree being free.

    It's just wild how large the gap is growing, my younger brother ('02) works as a mechanic and as a manager at a furniture store, his girlfriend is a team lead at the furniture store, they really can't afford to just rent on their own and this is rural Delmarva. Houses that were built new not even 10 years ago for $120k are now $280k+. My thing is full-time workers shouldn't have to worry about the bare necessities but even mid-level jobs only paying $18/hr is just gross. I'm the only college grad in my family and work in big tech now and it's just silly how much of a game upward mobility, heck, just stability, is getting.

    32
  • 'Feel'? Holy shit balls batman.

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  • I feel trapped in my house now. I just barely squeaked by in 2017 and got a house for a decent rate/price (what now seems like a steal compared to current prices), but I feel like I can't really go or do anything else now. I'm just stuck in this situation until either the kids move out or until my spouse or I dies. Like yeah, the price of my home went up, but so did everybody else's, so I'm probably only looking at downsizing in a decade or so, otherwise, there's not too much else to strive for, just building up retirement money, hoping it'll last me past until I get diagnosed with some major medical condition or if I even ever live to see a day of retirement.

    22
  • I am so glad we managed to buy something in November 2019. Our state (MD) even had a first-time homebuyer program that gave us an interest-free ‘loan’ to get us out of PMI, only needs to be paid back if we sell or refinance. We make it work on 75k/yr total income somehow, although it’s gotten harder and harder. Seriously, we had a small car payment ($250/month, paid off in the last few years) when we bought the house that we could probably not afford now. We also have to basically restrict eating/going out to special occasions only, but that’s not so bad.

    Just thankful we were able to find a decent modest home in a nice little town in our state. My heart goes out to everyone struggling now!

    Edit: also meant to add that going by what Zillow says our home is ‘worth’ now, we couldn’t afford it today.

    21
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  • Missing the other big factor:

    There's a large quantity of influencers profiting off of doomsaying and convincing millennial they can't afford homes with bad math and bogus statistics. They churn out clickbait content with unfounded claims, purposefully designed to rile up viewers and drive engagement.

    This of course applies to many topics, housing affordability just being one, that turns out drive big engagement by spreading disinformation.

    It's actively profitable to lie on the internet nowadays, so lots of my fellow millennials have an extremely soured and warped perspective of reality, because if you keep getting told lies by enough different random strangers on the internet on a topic you aren't familiar with, you'll start to believe it.

    Spreading disinformation, especially about serious topics like economics, medicine, politics, religion, etc, needs to be cracked down on more. Posing as a professional online and spreading damaging info on purpose should result in jail time imo.

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