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Should millennials buy?

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis  April 3, 2013 07:14 AM

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This aging Gen Xer says no!

Frankly, no one under the age of thirty should buy. Your twenties are a time to explore and build a career and a mature personal life, not anchor yourself to a condo or house.

Renting provides the freedom to make choices - and to pick up and move to a new city to pursue a new job or even a promising new relationship.

But if you rush out and buy some overpriced starter home and condo, you've limited your horizons before you have gotten both feet fully on the ground.

Yet judging from a pair of new surveys out, the real estate industry is working overtime to convince millennials to take that plunge into home ownership as soon as humanly possible.

The claim is that millennials are eager to buy and ready to do what it takes to make that dream come true - whether it be bunking with the parents for a few years or working a second job.

Maybe there's some truth to it, yet again saying everyone is doing it is the oldest marketing ploy out there.

A new survey out by Pulte, the national home builder, contends that 65 percent of renters age 18-34 (OK, at least those with incomes over $50,000) say their interest in buying has increased over the past year.

Here's a quote from the survey.

"Millennials have witnessed the housing boom and bust, but still believe home ownership is a good investment," said Fred Ehle , vice president for PulteGroup. "Consistent with other third-party research that shows more than 90 percent of millennials plan to buy a home someday, we see a lot of young adults who are making financial sacrifices to afford a place of their own. With the combination of incredibly low mortgage rates, rising rental rates, and very low inventory levels, millennials realize now is a good time to purchase a home."

When I was in my twenties, I couldn't even pay my electric bill on time, let alone keep up with a mortgage. Maybe today's twenty somethings are more mature - or at least the ones who have managed to move out of mom and dad's house. I have my doubts.

Moreover, rushing out to buy while you are still in your twenties is playing with fire here in perpetually price-inflated Greater Boston.

After all, you could easily find yourself stretching to buy a starter home or condo that can't be easily resold, instead of waiting another five or ten years when your income is likely to be higher and your personal and professional life have settled in.

What say you millennials? Are you truly scrambling to buy or does renting fit the bill right now. And Xers and Baby Boomers, do you have any sage wisdom to dispense?

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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