Generation Z. The youngest of the generations just entering adulthood, figuring stuff out. Some of us really get it, and know, like Whitney Houston did way back when, that they’re the future.
So, what do Gen Zers have to do with homeownership and mortgages and all the money stuff that often fills the annals of our website content?
We like that question a lot. Because it makes us think and analyze, and thinking is one of our favorite pastimes.
Gen Z is the cohort that demographers call those who were born between the years of about 1995 and 2012. There was a lot of beautiful going on then, and some not so amazing— 9/11, war, the housing bubble, and the recession. But there was also a lot of awesome, such as the beginnings of Google, advent of smartphones, and increased cultural diversity.
And in the midst of all that beautiful chaos, Friends was there as an entertainment anchor, cancelling out the terrible to some degree. Not really, but wasn’t that a good time? Friends? We just kind of wanted to mention it and call it out. Good times.
Attitudes Towards Homeownership
It would be easy to look at what’s been happening with other generations, such as Millennials, and apply that to the generation following on their heels, but as recent surveys and analyses are showing, Gen Z has their own take on homeownership and saving for the future.
Gen Z doesn’t seem to balk at the factors that have often prevented Millennials from buying a home or starting a family—one of those major obstacles being student loans. Additionally, because they were too young to experience or remember what happened during 9/11, Gen Zers didn’t experience how that moment created fear and uncertainty about the future, something that it did for Millennials.
A recent survey done by Bank of America shows that more than half of the members of Gen Z have already started saving to buy a home. Not only that, but those in the age group of 18-23 want to buy in the next five years. That translates to this demographic being ready to get into their own home before the age of 30. And they plan to do it despite student loans, and indeed, many seem to have a plan to avoid going too deep into debt for college, such as going to a less expensive college.
According to the same survey, the driving forces behind their desire to buy a home are wanting to start a family as the top reason, while building wealth over time comes in a close second.
Optimism as a Defining Trait
The consensus towards Gen Z from experts is that this is a generation marked by optimism. In survey after survey, they are certain that they’ll be better off than their parents. They also regard homeownership as a key to achieving the American Dream.
More important, this generation is ready and willing to do whatever it takes to buy a home in the next five years, be that crowding back into their parents’ home, taking a second job, or asking family members for financial help in order to save or to take on some of the financial risk.
Different from Previous Generations
For Gen Z, there seems to be a lot of variations and distinctions that set them apart from their demographic predecessor (Millennials). According to a survey conducted by Homes.com, they expect diversity in their neighborhoods, and don’t regard that as something unique.
And, quite often—being in a younger demographic—they may be approaching homeownership from the perspective of being single rather than married, though starting a family is often part of their overall dream.
Being younger also influences this cohort, as some expect to save for up to five years for their down payment, meaning that as a generation they’re unaware of down payment assistance. Knowing some of these ideas can help those in the mortgage and real estate business to act as sherpas for Gen Z’ers as they approach this life milestone.
What’s fantastic about the upcoming generation is just how hopeful and ambitious they are. It’s quite infectious to see how certain and hopeful they are. The housing market is constantly in flux, but the growth we’ve seen shows few signs of slowing down. We think the market will happily absorb this new generation, whose ideas about homeownership have all the positive hallmarks of a group that’s ready to adapt to the new, exciting challenges of this era.