Generation Z actually prefers to buy homes instead of rent: Freddie Mac survey

More than a decade after the housing market crash of 2008, the Great Recession is still impacting homeownership — but in ways you might not expect.

After seeing the recession’s effect on millennials, Generation Z is eager to purchase homes as a way to build wealth, experts say. More than 80% of Gen Z prefers buying over renting, up from 70% of the same age range surveyed a decade ago. And Gen Zers plan to purchase their first home by age 30, three years earlier than the current U.S. median age for first-time homebuyers, according to a Freddie Mac survey of 14- to 23-year-olds released Thursday.

Couple on moving day. Attractive young woman and handsome bearded man with cardboard moving boxes are happy to move into new home.
“Because of the times we grew up in, we are very economically aware,” said Jonah Stillman, co-founder of Gen Z Guru. Credit: Getty Creative.

The desire for homeownership comes from a streak of financial savvy in Generation Z as the Great Recession brought hard financial conversations to the dinner table, said Jonah Stillman, co-founder of Gen Z Guru, a consulting company that studies Gen Z economic trends.

“Because of the times we grew up in, we [Gen Z] are very economically aware,” said Stillman. According to the study, about 90% of Gen Zers said they would need to have a job, build good credit and save for a down payment before buying a house — compared to only 39% who listed a long-term relationship as a reason for home purchase.

Home provides stability and financial security, said 84% of Gen Z respondents. They commonly believe that renting is a waste of money, with only 40% of Gen Z saying that rent is cheaper than a mortgage, compared to 51% of millennials, now ages 25 to 34, previously surveyed at the same age.

“The overwhelming majority of Americans accumulate wealth through homeownership,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

Young woman college student in her dorm room with phone and laptop
Only 40% of Generation Z said that rent is cheaper than a mortgage. Credit: Getty Creative.

And Gen Z appear to be aware of the realities of financial hardship. Respondents said they expect to face challenges in homeownership, citing rising home prices, large down payments, student debt, and the possibility of job instability.

“Millennials believe that things are harder than they should be... Generation Z doesn’t have the same expectations. They are playing accordingly [with realistic economic expectations] from the start,” said Igor Popov, chief economist at Apartment Lists and lead of the Rentonomics housing market research team.

Sarah Paynter is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @sarahapaynter

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