2020 to Bring Increase of First-time Homebuyers


Realtor.com reports the median age of U.S. homebuyers is now 47; an increase of 8 years in the last decade. While data shows that younger generations are waiting longer to buy their first home, according to TransUnion This Week in Real Estate, at least 8.3 million first-time homebuyers will enter the mortgage market between 2020 and 2022. Below are a few highlights from the first week of December that influence our business:

Peering Into The Housing and Mortgage Outlook With 20/20 Vision. The housing market benefitted during 2019 from mortgage and unemployment rates both below 4%, the first time this has happened in the post-World War II era. In 2020 we expect more of the same: while economic growth will likely be slower than during 2019, it will be sufficient to continue sub-4 readings for mortgage and unemployment rates. This economic environment should add to first-time buyers’ desire to own. But with supply expected to remain lean, especially for lower-priced homes, look for a quickening in price growth and for lower-priced homes to appreciate more than higher-priced. Our Home Price Index Forecast has prices up by more in 2020 than in 2019. Rising home prices will create more home-equity wealth in 2020, helping to sustain consumption spending. It also means that overall delinquency and foreclosure rates will likely remain at or below current levels, already the lowest in more than 20 years.

The Median Age of Homebuyers is Now 47. How Did That Happen? Despite recent data that younger generations are beginning to buy houses, on the whole, those same generations are waiting far longer than their parents did to buy their first house. There are various reasons for that delay, including a dramatic increase in student loan debt and a general shifting of attitudes towards the traditional homebuyer cycle. Put simply, people are waiting longer to marry, have kids, and buy houses. As more members of the younger generation are postponing homeownership and homes are becoming multi-generational, the median age of U.S. homebuyers is now 47. That figure has gone up eight years in just the last decade. A new report from Deutsche Bank Research shows that the median age of homebuyers in 1981 was 31. Since then, it’s gone up 16 years and now sits at 47. According to TransUnion, at least 8.3 million first-time homebuyers will enter the mortgage market between 2020 and 2022, due to low unemployment, record-low mortgage rates, and rising wages.

Strong Job Growth in November. The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Employment Situation Summary for November. Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 266,000 in November, following an increase of 156,000 jobs in October, while the unemployment rate declined to 3.5%. It was the largest monthly gain since January 2019 (312,000). Residential construction employment was little changed (-500) in November, after an increase of 5,400 jobs in October (revised). Total construction industry (both residential and nonresidential) employment totaled about 7.5 million in November.