Young buyers find homes to call their own - East Valley Tribune: Business

Young buyers find homes to call their own

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Posted: Sunday, July 2, 2006 7:28 am | Updated: 2:13 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

SEATTLE - Besides their college graduation, their first ‘‘real’’ job and their first new car, we can add another common milestone to the list for young single adults: buying a home.

More adults under 30 are entering the real-estate market, and many are doing it at ages uncommon a decade ago. And buyers are getting still younger as Generation Y joins in.

In 1995, people 25 and younger bought 172,000 homes nationally, said Walter Molony, spokesman for the National Association of Realtors. In 2005, that number jumped to 501,000.

‘‘The children of the baby boom generation — approximately 75 million (nationally) born between 1982 and 1995 — that generation is just entering the years in which people buy a first home,’’ Molony said. ‘‘That’s a strong fundamental factor for the next decade.’’

Couple that with low mortgage-interest rates, a healthy economy and rising employment, and the rate at which young people buy real estate will continue to grow, he said.

Although Seattle-area real estate is more expensive than ever — a tiny studio at the new NoMa Ballard condo building in Seattle, for example, starts at $180,000 — it’s also more attractive than ever for young singles to buy, with cheaper conversions of apartments to condos, creative financing options and slick marketing campaigns aimed at them.

But there also is fear among young adults — and their parents — that they won’t be able to afford real estate in the future.

‘‘There seems to be a lot more peer pressure, more parental pressure to buy at a younger age,’’ said Warren Ballard, vice president of Williams Marketing, which sells new condos and conversions. ‘‘The attitude really has changed.’’

But just because more young adults are buying doesn’t mean the purchase is easy.

Young buyers are making major compromises and using creative financing to buy their first homes — including recruiting roommates or siblings, borrowing from parents, sacrificing space and living in lessdesirable neighborhoods.

A year ago, Matt Parker, 27, and his 24-year-old brother Sean Parker talked once a month or so. These days, however, they share a 900-square-foot space and bicker over the washing machine.

The brothers were looking for housing at the same time last year when Matt suggested they combine resources and buy a place together. That way they could invest in a nicer house and still live with a roommate they trusted.

‘‘I know I can count on my brother,’’ Matt Parker said. ‘‘I know there’s a level of decency, and I know his ethics 100 percent.’’

They initially looked for a place that cost less than $200,000 but increased their maximum to $250,000 to buy their two-bedroom home. The home is a convenient drive to their jobs.

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