After spending most of my adult life either saving up for a home or trying to pay off my home, I am somewhat disillusioned about being a homeowner. My two sons, who are the youngest of Generation Y, tell me they are going to be more cautious about buying a home. According to a recent survey released by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate cited by a MarketWatch article, my sons are not alone. Most people between the ages of 18 and 35 view homeownership as a symbol of success. However, they don't want to buy a home until they are ready. The study showed 69 percent of the young people surveyed think they know more than their parents did at the same age. They attribute their knowledge to the media attention surrounding the housing crisis.
Exploring the country
By renting instead of buying, my older son was able to explore different parts of the country without being tied down. Even though it may seem as though it's just "throwing money away" to rent, that's not the case if a person isn't planning to stay settled for at least 5 to 10 years.
Living with relatives
Experts say some members of Gen Y are living at home longer not because they are slacking off, but because they are "strategic." My sons can save up cash for the future by living at home or with close relatives. It's never been as expensive to attend college as it is today. Also, it's not cheap to rent. My sons don't define their independence by whether or not they live with relatives in their late teens and early 20s. If anything, they will be more financially independent in the future by avoiding credit card and student loan debt.
Buying what they should
My children have also learned that it's important to buy what they should as opposed to what they could buy. Just because a lender qualifies them for a certain loan amount, doesn't mean they should sign away the next 30 years of their lives. In fact, they plan to take out 15-year mortgages so they can spend half as much time burdened with mortgage debt. They also say they aren't going to agree to mortgage payments that cost more than rent in our area.
Waiting for the right time
After going seeing their parents buy a home at the top of the housing bubble, my sons know that sometimes homes are overpriced and other times they are a bargain. They also learned about the gift of lower interest rates. My sons are saving up money so they can put more money down on a home if interest rates continue to climb.
While it's true a lot of Gen-Yers don't buy homes because they can't qualify due to student loan and credit card debt, that's not the case for everyone. My sons avoid debt, but they are still working on the income side of the debt-to-income ratio that matters to mortgage lenders. By the time they are ready to buy a home, the real estate market will be ready for them.
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