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Will millennials kill homeownership?

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis January 30, 2014 09:54 AM

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Gen Xers are heading into their 40s and middle age, more often than not with mortgage in tow.

I am squarely in that demographic. At 47, I am married,with three children and a house and mortgage in Natick.

But who will sell our homes to when it comes time to retire or simply move up in the housing market?

The millennials are next up in the generational batting box, but right now, the numbers are not looking so good.

Just 32 percent of millennials are paying a mortgage on a house or condo, with a million fewer young owners than there were before the housing market went bust.

The jobless rate for millennials tops 16 percent, by some measures, more than double that overall, national unemployment rate.

And, as we all know, too many college graduates are exiting with student loan debt the size of a mortgage, prompting 36 percent of all recent college grads to move back in with mom and dad.

Yet  millennials aren't the first generation to face  hard times - I graduated in 1991 and wound up getting laid off from my first reporting job during the tough times of the early 1990s, along with half the newsroom of the old Haverhill Gazette.

In fact, that's when such wonderful jargon such as "downsizing" and "rightsizing" took off. It was a recession that felt more like a depression across much of New England, with a collapse of a number of top regional banks and a speculative boom in condos and office buildings that went bust.

Despite the particularly daunting challenges they face, millennials have a shot at making it into the middle class and buying a house, provided they buckle down and work hard.

The job market is slowly improving and our tech-driven economy is creating new opportunities and niches even as it shuts the door on old ones.

That's why this new study, just released by Bentley University in Waltham, is a bit troubling.

The survey of hiring managers found three quarters of them complaining millennials aren't prepared for the workforce and lack that basic building block of all ambition and accomplishment, a work ethic.

Of course, the older generation - in this case Xers and aging boomers - always loves to complain and gripe about the supposedly shiftless youngsters coming up the ladder.

Gen Xers were derided as slackers by boomers, who, in turn, were ridiculed as pot smoking hippies by the "greatest generation." And guess what, the greatest generation wasn't seen as any great shakes by their Depression weary parents until World War II hit and changed everything,.

Still, that's a lot of disgruntled hiring managers.

Millennials, please, say it isn't so.


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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