Owning a home is extremely expensive. When your ass ain’t scraping food off the plate properly, and you’re just shoving gunk-piled dishes into a dishwasher that breaks, that’s your problem now. Then there’s property taxes you have to start paying and a whole host of other responsibilities. But homeownership, which is the biggest step one can make to start accumulating some sort of wealth in America, will always beat renting. That is if you can actually afford to buy. The amount of us who can and have is dropping precipitously.
The National Realtors Association has conducted a Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers survey since 1981, and they’ve never collected data that shows such a stark view of home ownership prospects. The findings show that the average first-time buyer is 36 years old, and repeat homebuyers are, on average, 59. The share of first-home buyers is just 26 percent, the lowest it’s even been. Basically, millennials are being shut out of home ownership while older generations are allowed the opportunity to increase their wealth at a disproportionate rate. The survey shows the ways the government and the fabric of America's economic system have failed us.
The numbers don’t just signal how bad the market is for millennials; they also paint a distressing story along racial lines. White buyers accounted for 88 percent of home sales during the time frame the survey was conducted, while Black and Asian/Pacific Islander buyers made up a mere 5 percent of all home sales. Jessica Lautz, the vice president of demographics and behavioral insights at the National Association of Realtors, told the New York Times that over the last decade, homeowners usually gained around $210,000 in equity.
As you’ve probably ascertained, younger generations and people of color are being iced out of the housing market due to a lot of factors that include racism, bad government policy, gentrification, staggering salaries, and a rotten economy, but who would have ever guessed this is the worst it’s been since the Reagan years?