I’m a pretty typical millennial. I dye my hair purple. I have a Harry Potter tattoo. I drive a Prius. But in one way, I’m atypical for my generation: I just bought a home.
Just a year ago, data showed the median age of people buying houses was on the rise, and likely to continue going up.
In Seattle, though, things will be different. Rents are rising and scores of people are moving to the city. That’s driving rents up, which will encourage millennials like me to buy homes.
Many in my generation are burdened with student loan debt and even as rents rise, will be unable to afford to buy a home. When you ask housing experts why millennials don’t buy homes, student loan debt is the most common reason they give.
A growing number of Seattle millennials are working for the tech industry, however, which tends to pay well and could help mitigate the issue of debt.
I’m 24 years old, smack dab in the middle of the millennial generation, and today I’m signing final papers on my first condo.
More millennials will join me. As my generation ages and rents continue to skyrocket, Seattle’s already-crowded housing market is about to get seriously intense.
Yes, I was attracted by the historically low interest rates and the freedom of getting to tear down and paint my walls.
But the single biggest thing that convinced me it was the right time to buy was the jump in rent prices. The rent on my one-bedroom apartment in Fremont went up nearly 9 percent in the last month, and that’s happening across the city.
Data from Seattle online real estate company Zillow (Nasdaq: Z) shows rents in Seattleincreased nearly 8 percent in the last year to a median price of $2,210 per month. For many millennials, that’s downright unaffordable.
I began my home search online, scouring Zillow and Redfin listings. Then I realized I had no idea what I was doing so I enlisted a knowledgeable real estate agent to take me through the (many) twists and turns of buying a home.
Buying a home in the Puget Sound region right now is a dog-eat-dog environment. If you’re not first or willing to pay well over the asking price, you’re not buying a house.
The numbers paint the picture — only 10,505 sellers in King County listed their homes in March and 11,408 sales were pending, according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
And it’s true. I put an offer on a condo in Ballard and lost it to a bidder who offered $40,000 over the asking price. Every condo I walked into had huge stacks of real estate agents’ cards strewn over the coffee table, even if it had come on the market only a day before.
I finally succeeded in getting a seller to accept my offer by showing up at a condo at 8 a.m.after it came on the market at 9 p.m. the night before.
I’m not the only person of my age jumping into homeownership — the rate at which homes are flying off the market in King County suggests that other millennials are getting in on the action.
The two biggest reasons people decide to buy homes are when they get married and have children, and millennials are just getting to the age when they hit those milestones.
Contrary to widespread belief, Seattle-area wedding industry experts say millennials do indeed get married. We’re just doing it later in life than earlier generations.