Apr 17, 2023 - Real Estate

More than half of Columbus millennials are homeowners

Illustration of a house with a padlock shackle on the roof in an open position.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Millennials allegedly killed the mayonnaise and fabric softener industries, but at least they're keeping the housing market alive.

Driving the news: For the first time, millennial homeowners now outnumber millennial renters, Axios' Kelly Tyko reports.

Why it matters: Homeownership is traditionally an important coming-of-age milestone, one that's taken a majority of millennials longer to achieve than earlier generations.

  • The average age of a first-time millennial homebuyer is 34, compared to 33 for baby boomers and 32 for Gen X.

State of play: It's tougher than ever to save for a down payment and buy a starter home amid rising rent prices and creeping mortgage rates.

  • But millennials (those born between 1981-1996) are now reaching middle age and finally starting to earn enough money to afford the costs.
Data: RentCafe analysis of IPUMS data; Table: Axios Visuals
Data: RentCafe analysis of IPUMS data; Table: Axios Visuals

By the numbers: The Columbus area's share of millennial homeowners grew by nearly 29% over the past five years.

  • But that's a modest jump compared to other major Ohio cities: Cleveland grew by 37%, Dayton by 65% and Akron by a whopping 143%.
  • Millennial homeownership actually decreased in Toledo (6.6%) and Cincinnati (16.3%) during that time. Cue the avocado toast jokes.

What they're saying: Stagnant incomes and a staggering market are likely contributing to our area's slower growth, RentCafe research analyst Alexandra Both tells Axios.

  • Local home values rose by more than 50% over the last five years, while income increases averaged only 15%, she says.

The intrigue: Central Ohio experienced a massive spike in Gen Z homeowners (435%) in the past five years, which tracks with a study calling us one of the friendliest cities for the generation born between 1997-2013.

Zoom in: Our Axios Columbus team of two millennials mirrors the near-50-50 split.

  • 🏡 Alissa owns. She's glad she took the plunge into the market in 2019, though, because she's not sure if she'd be able to afford her home at today's prices.
  • 🏢 Tyler rents. His thought bubble: [Insert string of expletives here.]

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Columbus.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Columbus stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Columbus.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more