Both buyers and sellers alike are feeling very good about the housing market this spring, even as home values hit new highs and mortgage rates move up. A monthly sentiment index from Fannie Mae rose to the highest level since 2011, when the survey began, thanks to a surprising surge from millennials. “Millennials showed especially strong increases in job confidence and income gains, a necessary precursor for increased housing demand from first-time homebuyers,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae.
Millennials are moving out of their parents’ basements and forming new households at a faster rate, according to Fannie Mae research. The leading edge of the millennial generation is entering the housing market in larger numbers today, with some venturing out of their desired urban cores to more affordable suburbs.
Millennials delayed both marriage and parenthood, but that is now changing. Nearly half of millennial buyers had at least one child, according to the 2017 Home Buyer and Seller Generational report just released by the National Association of Realtors®. That is up from 45 percent last year and 43 percent two years ago. Children are the primary driver of homeownership, which is now sitting near a record low. Just 15 percent of millennial buyers chose an urban area, which is down from 17 percent last year and 21 percent two years ago. “Millennial buyers, at 85 percent, were the most likely generation to view their home purchase as a good financial investment,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the Realtors. “These strong feelings bode well for even greater demand in the future as more millennials settle down and begin raising families.”