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CT millennials are purchasing more homes, but later in life than their parents

Aleena Thomas tours a home for sale in New Haven county for a home with enough room for her family. But as a single mother of 5, it has been tough. She looks out at the backyard of the home she's touring. The bedrooms are on the small side. She will have to choose between having a living room or a dining room. But the prospect of a yard carries a lot of weight.
Tyler Russell
Connecticut Public
FILE: Aleena Thomas tours a home for sale in New Haven county in December, 2022.

More millennials are purchasing homes in Connecticut’s larger cities, but available homes haven’t become more affordable. 

In the last five years, the number of millennial homeowners in Bridgeport rose by more than 100%, according to a RentCafe study. In Hartford, millennial homeownership rose by about 52%.

The nationwide study analyzed homeownership rates of Generations Z, X, millennials and baby boomers in municipalities of 500,000 or more residents.

“We know millennials want to find larger space, they want to be able to do that and they're looking at different choices,” RentCafe analyst Doug Ressler said. “We’ve seen millennials move into single-family rentals that have larger square footage. But now with the ownership question, that was kind of surprising, especially with mortgage rates doing what they're doing and the fed continuing to increase interest rates.”

The study did not look at race, gender, or housing types, such as single family homes or condos, but found nationwide the average millennial was 34 years old when they purchased their home.

Baby Boomers remain the largest generation of homeowners in Hartford and millennials still make up the largest group of renters in the area, with 59%, or 85,434 units, according to the data.

Bridgeport made the list of the top 30 metros that saw the largest increase in millennial homeownership over the last five years, but only 40% of the city’s millennials are homeowners.

Despite homeownership rising significantly among millennials, it doesn’t mean homes have become more affordable, according to Sean Ghio, policy director for the Connecticut housing advocacy nonprofit, Partners for Strong Communities.

“Because of the housing market, we have to look at things like income level, like racial disparities, like student debt burden, which also has a race component,” Ghio said. “Many folks with student debt — and I think this is disproportionately true for Black folks with student debt — they often end up owing more later on than they did at the time of taking a loan.”

Millennials taking on more student loan debt, inflation outpacing income rises and a lack of homes on the market driving up purchasing costs all contributed to millennials holding off on purchasing homes until later in life, Ghio said.

Abigail is Connecticut Public's housing reporter, covering statewide housing developments and issues, with an emphasis on Fairfield County communities. She received her master's from Columbia University in 2020 and graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2019. Abigail previously covered statewide transportation and the city of Norwalk for Hearst Connecticut Media. She loves all things Disney and cats.

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