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How Real Estate Investing Is Spurring Millennial Home Ownership

Forbes | By Christine Michel Carter | July 25, 2017

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Millennials are the largest group of home buyers for the fourth consecutive year, according to the National Association of Realtors 2017 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report. Nearly 40% of home buyers were under 36 years old.

So what’s driving the change in Millennial home ownership?

Forty-nine percent of Millennial buyers had at least one child, also according to the report. That is up six percentage points from two years ago. Also, while Millennials are not racing down the aisle, they are purchasing homes with their partners. Though marriage rates declined, the number of U.S. adults in cohabiting relationships reached nearly 18 million last year, up 29% since 2007. About half of those cohabiters (those living with an unmarried partner) are younger than 35. But most importantly, in a joint Real Estate Investment Survey with Harris Interactive, RealtyShares found that 55% of Millennials are enthusiastic about home ownership as an investment, and over half would invest in property other than their primary residence.

With all the enthusiasm Millennials have towards real estate investment, for them, it is still a foreign and confusing concept with many barriers. In fact, 70% of all Americans think investing in real estate is more difficult than investing in other asset classes. Few are aware of the options towards home ownership, such as borrowing from retirement, real estate crowdfunding or house hacking.

See: Could Real Estate Crowdfunding Help Millennials Retire Sooner?

Not surprisingly, Millennials believe technology makes the real estate investment process easier. That’s why Kendra Barnes, millennial and real estate investment coach, started The Key Resource, a digital resource educating and empowering fellow Millennials to invest in real estate. Barnes herself owns a 4-plex, duplex and single family home in Washington, D.C.- a city with a strong housing market. Today Barnes makes nearly $200,000 in annual rental income and plans to buy at least two more properties before the end of 2017 in other states. Barnes relates to other Millennials with regards to the order in which they’re making big decisions- she bought a house, got married and then invested in real estate:

We had no plans of ever buying rental property- not because we didn’t think it was possible, we just never even considered it. One day we played Rich Dad’s board game Cash Flow and it changed our lives. We realized that we were doing absolutely nothing to build wealth and at the rate we were going we’d have to work until we were old and gray. We decided to get into real estate investing and started making sacrifices that most people wouldn’t in order to reach our goals. We downsized to a one car household, saved more, and borrowed from our retirement account to buy our first property.

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