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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Over the last several years, millennials have rented to stay nimble and keep work opportunities open. Now, they're ready to buy.

Why it matters: About 4.8 million millennials are turning 30 in 2021, and many are expected to enter the home-buying game if they haven't already.

  • This wave of new buyers will have the opportunity to build and pass on wealth, and shape the market for years to come.

Flashback: Leading up to the financial crisis of 2008, many people bought homes they couldn't afford, allowing developers to gobble up foreclosures, David Kennedy, president of Charlotte-based Canopy MLS, tells Axios.

  • We're still feeling the impacts of that, but it allowed first-time millennial buyers to head into the market with the knowledge their first home may not be their dream home.
  • They're more open to multi-family options like condos and quadraplexes, so they can start building wealth despite today's low inventory of single-family homes.

The big picture: Millennials are getting older and entering a new stage of life, casting off their long-held moniker as the "renter generation," Realtor.com senior economist George Rati says.

  • The oldest millennials are turning 40 this year, and they want more space for their growing families.
  • First-time buyers are also ready to build equity, have more space, and take advantage of low relatively mortgage rates.

The state of play: Homebuyers are entering a competitive market, with inventory down and home prices surging across the board. Low mortgage rates give buyers more power, but there has to be a home to buy to take advantage of current deals.

By the numbers, per a Realtor.com study:

  • 43% of first-time millennial homebuyers have been looking for more than a year.
  • 44% say they still need more money for a down payment and other closing costs.
  • 34% say they can't find a house in their budget.

Where they're going: Millennials are leaving larger cities like New York and heading west or south. Migration patterns, according to SmartAsset, show five of the 10 most popular states among millennials have no income tax.

Data: U.S. Census Bureau migration data analysis by SmartAsset; Chart: Axios Visuals

What millennials want: Rati says the average millennial buyer wants a house with a nice backyard in a desirable, quiet location.

  • A garage, updated kitchens and bathrooms, good schools, and attractions nearby are also common wishlist items.
  • Millennials with money want to spend it. Grandfather Homes president Matt Ewers, who builds $1M+ custom homes, says he's noticed millennial buyers "are willing to spend it as they make it," adding amenities like $150,000 pools during the building process.
  • "They're not all investment bankers either," he says. Millennials who are able to afford the bonus luxuries are involved in anything from sales to multiple side hustles.

The bottom line: "Looking ahead," Rati says, "millennials will continue to be dominant participants in housing markets."

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Apr 11, 2021 - Economy & Business

The dispiriting housing boom

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It's a discouraging scene: Bidding wars, soaring prices, and fears that homeownership is becoming out of reach for millions of Americans. We're in a housing frenzy, driven by a massive shortage of inventory — and no one seems to be happy about it.

Why it matters: Not all bubbles burst. Real estate, in particular, tends to rise in value much more easily than it falls. Besides, says National Association of Realtors chief economist Lawrence Yun, this "is not a bubble. It is simply lack of supply."

Bernie Sanders: U.S. must recognize that "Palestinian rights matter"

Sen. Bernie Sanders. Photo: Stefani Reynolds via Getty Images

The United States must encourage an immediate cease-fire in the Middle East and adopt an "evenhanded approach" that recognizes Palestinians and Israelis have a right to "live in peace and security," Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) wrote in a New York Times opinion on Friday.

Driving the news: Violence escalated this week after Israelis intensified efforts to evict Palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem. Hamas fired rockets and Israel massed troops, leaving more than 125 Palestinians and seven people in Israel dead.

3 hours ago - Technology

Exclusive: Uber makes new hire, launches anti-racism campaigns

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Eager to show progress on the pledge to make its platform and business anti-racist, Uber on Friday announced new anti-racism driver and rider campaigns, as well as fresh internal hiring practices, Axios was first to report.

Why it matters: Uber is one of the biggest ride hailing companies in the world. Its decisions impact the millions that use the platform, where drivers and riders alike say they have experienced racism.