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Gen Z's First Home Purchase: Where to Buy and How Much to Save

Feb 1, 2019 10:01:07 AM

Gen Z's First Home Purchase: Where to Buy and How Much to Save

As the discussion over housing affordability has heated up, realtor.com calculates how much an 18-year-old today needs to save to purchase a home, while LendingTree compared metro areas to determine which cities offer most amenable conditions for first-time homebuyers.

A new analysis by realtor.com shows that young adults today will need to save $304 every month for the next 12 years to buy with a 10 percent down payment plus closing costs on a median-priced home. According to the analysis, the median priced home in the U.S. is projected to cost $386,310 in 2031, when today's 18-year-olds  turn 30.

The analysis includes a 13-year forecast for median home prices in top 100 metros and different down payment savings plans. On average, in the top 10 most expensive metros, members of Generation Z will need to save about $948 a month, starting on their 18th birthday, to afford a 10 percent down payment and typical closing costs by the time they turn 30 years old.

The median priced home in 2019 is expected to cost $265,000, but over the course of the next 12 years, the price is expected to increase nearly 50 percent, specifically another 46 percent to $386,310. This assumes prices grow at a very modest 3.2 percent per year over the next 12 years.

"Choosing to live in one of the U.S.'s larger and more expensive metros, especially on the West Coast, is going to make homeownership a difficult task, but that doesn't mean that Gen Z should give up on their dreams," said Danielle Hale, realtor.com®'s chief economist.

According to online lending marketplace LendingTree, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Oklahoma City offer first-time homebuyers the easiest time purchasing a home. While these metros may not necessarily have the lowest credit score requirements or down payments in the country, they consistently rank highly across all six metrics that were considered in a study that took into account factors such as average down payment, percentage of buyers with credit scores below 680, and use of FHA loans. Overall, Pittsburgh and Cleveland are tied for first place, while Oklahoma City is third.

The worst cities for first-time homebuyers were Los Angeles, Denver and San Francisco.

Other findings from the study:

• Oklahoma City, Cleveland and Memphis, Tenn., have the lowest down payments. The average down payment in these three areas is $32,000, which is considerably lower than the average down payment for the top 50 metros overall — slightly higher than $50,000. This means buyers in these areas likely don’t need to save up as much to make a down payment as they might in other areas.
• Salt Lake City, Oklahoma City and San Antonio had the lowest down payment percentages out of the top 50 largest metros. These three areas have an average down payment percent of 14%, which is two points lower than the average across all 50 metros surveyed.
• Birmingham, Ala., Detroit and Columbus, Ohio, had the highest share of buyers who used an FHA mortgage. Nearly 40% of buyers in these cities used FHA financing to secure a mortgage. This is not surprising considering that a large portion of buyers in these areas had credit scores below 680.

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