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Why Aren't Vermont Millennials Buying Homes?

At last week’s Vermont Statewide Housing Conference John Pelletier of Champlain College and Anthony Poore of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston presented at a workshop titled “Homeownership’s Lost Generation.” Vermont Public Radio reported on what they had to say about why fewer of Vermont’s millennials are buying homes:

Vermonters in the millennial generation are often seen as a success story in a state that has struggled to attract and retain young people. But cultural and economic trends mean millennials in the state are still falling short on the housing market. It’d be hard to name any one reason why young people aren’t buying homes in Vermont. Some are leaving the state, some are still too young to be expected to buy a home; others still live with their parents. John Pelletier is the director of the Champlain College Center for Financial Literacy. He said one of the big factors is college debt. “If you’re a college grad with student loan debt in those age categories of 29 and under, less of you own a home than if you didn’t go to college, ” he said. And Pelletier said two-thirds of students who graduate from college in Vermont end up in debt. “Of that two-thirds that that had student loan debt, their average debt was approximately $29,000 or just a little bit under that,” he said. Speaking at the Vermont Statewide Housing Conference in Burlington, Pelletier and Anthony Poore of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston said it’s not just the numbers that are keeping young people from buying houses. Poore said there were also some cultural differences between millennials and their parents. “You know, these folks watched their parents lose their homes,” he said. “These people saw their parents have to try to figure out everything they could to stay in their homes, so they’re beginning to ask themselves, really, is homeownership really all that?” Despite what Pelletier called the generation’s “failure to launch,” the stats show millennials still plan on owning a home at some point. “Everybody wants a home,” he said. “So this generation has failed to launch so far, but I think fundamentally it’s a reasonable expectation that they’re going to want a home.”

The results of a recent survey from NeighborWorks America on homeownership had similar findings, with 49% of respondents who have student loan debt saying it was an obstacle when it comes to purchasing a home.

For the full article from VPR, including audio, click here. For full results of the NeighborWorks survey click here.

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