may have, Papa may have Ö but God bless the child thatís
got his own. The famous Billie Holiday lyrics ring true
when it comes to the current state of homeownership.
millennials made up 36 percent of homebuyers in 2017,
they have yet to catch up with other generations as far
as home ownership is concerned. A recent study found
they have lower homeownership rates than the nationís
two previous generations, and millennials of color have
rates nearly 15 percentage points lower than their white
loan debt has hindered many, especially within this
millennial population," said Maurice Hampton,
treasurer of the Chicago Association of Realtors and
managing broker at Centered RCG in Chicago. "The
other aspect is that, due to the stripping of the
wealth, the wealth rebuilding among blacks and Latinos
is extremely lagging behind other communities since the
recovery of the recession."
study from Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C., think
tank, and Better Mortgage, a New York-based digital
mortgage company, found that between 2005 and 2015, the
homeownership rate among white young adults was 38.5
percent, compared to 28.8 percent for Hispanics and 14.5
percent for African-Americans. In that time frame, the
black millennial homeownership rate fell almost 10
percentage points and was the only group to not
experience an increase during the housing boom.
had the credit crisis, and millions of Americans lost
their homes and we still donít have basic financial
literacy for Americans. Ö We donít have it for the
most vulnerable members of our society," said
Vishal Garg, CEO of Better Mortgage. "If your
parents didnít come from wealth or arenít in the
business of managing their own money, you fundamentally
are left on your own. You donít learn how to compound
interest or figure out how to shop for the best loans,
and fundamentally every aspect of American life today
ó to move up in the socioeconomic ladder ó requires
engaging in some sort of borrowing," he said.
Soler Cox, a Denver resident, was incensed by the reportís
findings. Cox, 47, one of the filmmakers behind
"Being Enye" and a co-creator of Project Enye,
a website aimed at empowering Latinas, agrees that part
of the problem is lack of generational wealth for many
first-generation Latinos. She says there are also
cultural norms at play, such as reconciling collective
vs. self-reliant mindsets.
is everything in our culture Ö if itís between me
saving for a down payment on a house, or the family
needing money, many are probably going to choose to help
their family," Cox said.
donít remember many times sitting down and talking to
my mother about money. All I was ever told was donít
get into debt, that itís terrible. But she never
talked to me about good debt, that there is such a thing
as good debt. Thereís a number of contributors to
this, but at the end of the day brown people are the
most affected," she said.
aims to shift some cultural norms in the Latino
community, in hopes that more people of color can start
forging their own financial legacy.
report confirms some of Coxís and Gargís beliefs. It
attributes low millennial homeownership rates in part to
student debt, tightened credit standards and limited
availability of affordable housing in cities, but points
out that minorities face an additional burden ó a lack
of intergenerational wealth (wealth passing from one
generation to the next).
adults are more likely to be homeowners if their parents
are homeowners and have the means to help their kids
with a down payment, according to the study, which found
that white parents have an 83.7 percent rate of
homeownership, compared to 64.4 percent for Latinos and
47.7 percent for African-Americans. And buying a house
can be difficult when, according to a 2018 investigation
by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting,
nearly two-thirds of mortgage lenders deny home loans
for people of color at higher rates than for white
millennialsí shifting attitudes toward homeownership
have also contributed to the decline, according to the
study. Those who endured the Great Recession at a
certain age are unlikely to take wealth building via
homeownership as a given ó millennials choose to
become buyers when it meets their needs but arenít
sold on the idea that making sacrifices today to save
for a down payment is the best strategy.
think we have people who are very debt-averse because
they watched their parents go through a foreclosure or
struggle with mortgage payments or lose their homes ó
I think thatís a contributor," said Erica Dumas,
spokesperson for Better.
turn millennial homeownership numbers around, the study
suggests enhancing financial education at the high
school and college levels and improving homeowner
awareness through online educational campaigns. It says
streamlining the mortgage process and changing zoning
regulations to allow for more construction in areas with
limited housing supply would also help.
have to have these hard conversations, and we have to
see how we can influence the younger generation into
understanding that itís kind of on us, no one is
coming to save us. We have to save ourselves," Cox
is hoping the study, will be a rallying cry for those
seeking change in the homeownership landscape, both
publicly and privately.
have to decide to pick a place on the battlefield and
keep saying Iím going to push and make this process
more accessible and affordable," he said. "We
will continue to work with public officials and
institutions to discuss policy recommendations, and call
on private institutions to join us in educating the
public and confronting issues, like financial
discrimination, head on."