Millennial Homebuying Woes

Millennials say they want to buy a house, but can they afford it in Houston?

Millennials want to buy a house, but can they afford it in Houston?

News_Real estate_house for sale_post_sign_placeholder
Millennials want to buy a house in Houston but they can't always afford it. Courtesy photo

Millennials want to buy homes — 12.9 percent of them said so, compared to 12.1 percent of the population overall, according to the Zillow Housing Confidence Index — but can they afford to in Houston? The answer: Sort of.

Using the typical rule of thumb that housing costs should not exceed 30 percent of household income, Zillow analyzed the share of homes nationwide to determine affordability for young homebuyers making a salary typical of workers their age. (Researchers used American Community Survey data to calculate the median income of households headed by 23- to 34-year-olds.) As of the end 2014, 70 percent of homes nationwide land in the affordability zone.

Among the 96 metros on Zillow’s list, Houston ranks 59th in affordability, tied with such cities as Augusta, Baltimore, Boise, Charlotte, Memphis, New Orleans and Raleigh.

In Houston, 68 percent of the inventory is attainable for millennials. Among the 96 metros on Zillow’s list, Houston ranks 59th in affordability, tied with such cities as Augusta, Georgia; Baltimore; Boise, Idaho; Charlotte; Memphis; New Orleans and Raleigh, North Carolina.

The situation is more dire in Austin, where first-time buyers have access to only 56 percent of homes, making it the 20th worst market included in the study. Dallas falls between Austin and Houston at 64 percent.

More cities than not experienced dips in home affordability for this group, including the U.S. as a whole, which went from 70.5 percent at the end of 2013 to 69.7 percent a year later. Austin had the biggest drop in that time period, from 65.1 to 56 percent.

Where do millennials have the best shot at home ownership? In Akron, Ohio, home of LeBron James, where they can afford 90 percent of homes. Another Midwestern town, St. Louis, also is friendly to young homebuyers, at 85 percent.

Millennials have it the worst in Honolulu, where a measly 25 percent of housing is attainable. California is only mildly better: Affordable inventory falls below 40 percent in cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, San Diego, Sacramento and Modesto.