Apr 10, 2023 - Real Estate

Richmond's millennials reach a homeownership milestone

Data: RentCafe; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: RentCafe; Chart: Axios Visuals

They did it. Millennial homeowners finally outnumbered millennial renters for the first time last year — and Richmond saw the largest gains in homeownership in the country for this generation.

Driving the news: Nearly 52% of the people born from 1981 to 1996 were homeowners in 2022 and made the largest ownership gains of any generation in the last five years, per a new RentCafe report.

  • In Richmond, 58.3% of millennials were homeowners last year.

Why it matters: Millennials' adulthood has been marked by the economic uncertainty of the Great Recession, high student loans and a pandemic.

  • Plus, there was the occasional Australian billionaire turning up on television to attribute their financial woes to overspending on avocado toast.

Yes, but: Delaying moving away from home, parental help with down payments and reaping significant income increases during the pandemic — up 44% last year compared to five years earlier — helped millennials achieve the milestone, RentCafe noted in its report.

Still, the largest generation managed to cross the majority homeownership threshold amid a notoriously tight real estate market.

By the numbers: Nationwide, the number of millennial homeowners increased by 7.1 million between 2017 and 2022 to 18.2 million, a 64% increase.

Zoom in: But of the top 50 metros in the country, Richmond saw the largest gain in the number of millennial owners in the last five years — a 234% increase between 2017 and 2022.

  • Millennial renters increased by 3% in the same period.

What they're saying: "[Richmond's] funky, hipster reputation and cost of living below the state and national averages were two of the main reasons that drew in millennials looking to buy a home," RentCafe wrote.

Meanwhile, Richmond Boomers and Gen Xers saw increases in renters:

  • The share of Boomers renting in Richmond went up by 35% over the last five years.
  • Gen X Richmond renters increased by 134%.

Be smart: Home prices have been on the decline, with prices falling in January for the seventh consecutive month, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller data, Axios’ Nathan Bomey reports.

  • But single-family home prices in Richmond were still up 7% from a year earlier.

Go deeper: Millennial homeowners outnumber renters for the first time.


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