Millennial home ownership on the rise


CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — Millennials are becoming a growing force in the housing market.

According to the Urban Institute, roughly 7.6 million millennials (roughly between the ages of 25-34) owned homes in the United States in 2015. In Champaign County, realtor Max McComb said millennials made up roughly 37-percent of the market last year, and are expected to account for 45% of the market this year.

“I think they’re starting to see the benefits of home ownership,” McComb said. “Some of that’s been delayed a little bit for them, I think, because of some school debt.”

McComb, the immediate past president of the Champaign County Association of Realtors, said he thinks more millennials are warming up to the concept that renting long-term has fewer benefits than purchasing the same kind of property.

The Urban Institute cited marriage as one of the driving factors for home ownership.

Anissa Slater said she just bought her first home in Urbana this April, less than a year after tying the knot.

“We just wanted to sort of start that life and think about having kids,” Slater said. “So, we decided to purchase a home.”

Slater said she’s the first of her friends to buy a house. She is still working to pay off her student loans.

“I decided to purchase a home because we were renting previously and I wanted to invest in my own home,” she said. “I decided it would be better money-wise instead of paying rent to just buy a home.”

McComb said the entry-level range in Champaign County runs between $100,000 and $175,000. He said the region needs more homes in that price range for younger buyers like Slater.

“It’s hard for the builders to build in that lower price range,” he explained. “It’s because of the cost of materials and cost of labor.”

Recent census numbers show Champaign and Urbana are among a small number of cities in Illinois that have seen significant growth. That’s why McComb said he’s not surprised more and more millennials are choosing to make Champaign County their home.

“The market here is very strong,” he said. “It’s very reliable. It’s very steady and there’s been good growth for people who have bought in the last few years.”

The Champaign County Association of Realtors reported a total of 339 home sales in May 2019, compared to 340 last year. The city of Urbana saw strong home sales, with 72 sales in May 2019, compared to 50 in 2018. Mahomet also saw growth. 32 houses were sold in May compared to 25 a year ago.

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