Millennials in Texas are refraining from buying a house, but it's not because of economic or geographic factors. Instead, they simply don't know where to start, according to a new survey by Carrington Mortgage Services cited by MarketWatch. This was the overwhelming response across the South, from Texas to Florida. However, different regions mentioned different factors, including student loan and credit card debt.
After uncertainty about how to progress with buying a home, residents in southern states, including Texas, said they worry about low credit scores as well. This combination of uncertainty about the process and distress over credit scores has led many millennials to forego purchasing a home, despite now being a good time to do so.
Ray Brousseau, executive vice president of mortgage lending for Carrington's South Hadley, Massachusetts office, noted that worrying about credit scores is mostly unfounded, since there's a difference between student loan debt and revolving credit card debt.
"The greater debt they have, the lower the FICO score they think they have, but it's not true," said Brousseau. "There's good debt and there's bad debt. [Student loan] debt is tax deductible, the other is compounded daily."
Despite record-low interest rates, this demographic is buying houses at much lower rates than its predecessors were 35 years ago when interest rates were twice as high as they are now. Only 38 percent of millennials, those aged 25-34, owned homes in 2012, while almost 52 percent of this same age group owned one in 1980. In the last decade alone, homeownership among people in that age bracket declined 7.3 percent, UT Professor Mechele Dickerson wrote in The Conversation.
The Silver Lining
Much of the uncertainty surrounding millennials' decisions to buy a house can probably be traced back to the MacArthur Foundation's 2015 How Housing Matters survey. According to the data, a combined 61 percent of Americans either believe the country is still suffering from the 2007 housing crisis or that the worst is yet to come. This number declined 9 percent from 2014, which means people are starting to grasp a more accurate understanding of what is happening. Despite what respondents think, it is not all doom and gloom for the housing market.
In light of these findings, it's surprising to find that 88 percent millennials remain optimistic about their future, with nearly half saying they were very optimistic. While respondents expect more challenges than other generations, 77 percent still believe they will be able to own a house while 69 percent believe they will have a stable housing situation.
With a little bit of education and someone pointing them in the right direction, millennials in Texas are poised to burst into the housing market. As more millennials move out of their parents' houses - even just to rent - it indicates a positive sign since many of those renters will eventually become homeowners.
For more information on opportunities to buy land to build homes, contact SouthStar Communities.