Millennials In The Lead for Home Purchases, More Than Half Of All Home Purchase Applications


According to the CoreLogic Loan Application Database[1], prior to 2020, while millennial home purchase applications comprised less than half of all purchase applications, their share grew from 33% in 2014 to 47% in 2019, rising about 2 to 4 percentage points per year. This annual increase is consistent with the cohort of millennials reaching 33 years of age, the peak homebuying age.

But in 2020, the share of millennials in the homebuying market soared 7 percentage points in 2020, reaching 54% of all purchase applications (Figure 1). And while half of the increase is consistent with the natural growth rate seen since 2014, the additional half of the 2020 jump was likely driven by the pandemic. In other words, the increase was accelerated by record low mortgage interest rate and flexibility to work remotely.

Figure 2 shows U.S. population distribution by age, highlighting the largest demographic cohort reaching the peak age of FTHB on the left axis. The right axis of the chart, displayed by the green line, represents first-time home-purchase loan applications per 1,000 persons in 2020.

Younger millennials below 30 have yet to enter homeownership, so demand from millennials is likely to remain strong over the coming years. At the same time, more older millennials are likely to transition to repeat homebuyers. The share of millennial repeat buyer home-purchase applications was already 35% in 2020, just 4 percentage points lower than Gen X’ share.


CoreLogic – Three-Year Housing and Mortgage Outlook

  • 30-year fixed-rate loans to remain below 3% during early 2021 and average about 3.2% during the next three years.
  • Millennials will add substantial demand for housing over the next few years.
  • Home prices projected to rise in most metro areas, albeit slower than in recent years.

2020 was a truly unprecedented year. With it behind us, let’s look ahead at three housing market trends that are likely during the next three years.

Figure 1: Mortgage Rates Are Forecast to Remain Low

First, exceptionally low mortgage rates are likely to be around for an extended period. We expect 30-year fixed-rate loans to remain below 3% during early 2021 and average about 3.2% during the next three years. This would be nearly a percentage point lower than the average over the 2010-2019 decade. These low rates will provide an excellent opportunity for families with good credit to buy or refinance homes.

Figure 2: Large Demographic Tailwind Has Arrived

Second, Millennials will add substantial demand for housing over the next few years. Looking at America’s population by age, the largest numbers of Millennials are those aged 28 to 30. With 33 as the median age of recent first-time buyers, demographic forces will add an important tailwind to home-buying demand. In fact, we expect home sales relative to the housing stock, a measure of home “turnover”, in 2021 to 2023 to be above the average annual turnover rate of the prior two decades.

Figure 3: Home Price Forecast to Rise Slower than Last Decade

Third, we expect home prices to rise in most neighborhoods, albeit at a more modest pace than in recent years. Price appreciation is expected to average 2.5% per year during the next three years, compared with 4.8% per year during the prior decade. One reason for slower value growth is because we expect for-sale inventory will increase. 2020’s pandemic delayed new construction and led many prospective sellers to postpone listings. Once the coronavirus dissipates or a vaccine is widely available, we expect to see the number of new and existing homes listed for sale to rise, helping to ease price appreciation. One caveat: while we predict most communities will see gradual price growth, some metros that have been especially hard hit by the pandemic recession will likely have price declines.

Low mortgage rates, growing numbers of first-time buyers, and gradually rising home values are three housing market trends we expect during the next three years.
© 2020 CoreLogic, Inc. All rights reserved.


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