More millennials plan for lifetime of renting

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Posted at 8:19 AM, Nov 19, 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Even in a city with a hot housing market, a new study found a growing number of millennials say they would rather rent forever than buy a home.

Apartment List’s 2019 Millennials and Home-ownership Report analyzed the attitudes of over 10,000 millennial renters across the U.S. It found nationally, 12.3 percent of millennial renters say they plan to “always rent,” and that number is up from 10.7 percent just one year ago. In Nashville, four percent of millennials planned to stick with renting.

The study found millennials said they can’t afford to buy a home, they like the flexibility renting provides, and they think it’s financially risky to buy a home.

Of those who expected to purchase a home, 53 percent have not yet started saving towards a down payment. Student loan debt was listed as the main reason millennials felt they didn’t have the funding to buy a home.

“You can break your lease at any point,” said Kayla Daise, who rents a one bedroom apartment in Midtown. “It has its benefits. You don’t have to pay for repairs around the house. You can call a landlord.”

Realtor Elyse Wiser at Scout Realty in Nashville said results of the Apartment List study weren’t surprising. She said millennials are a huge part of the Nashville market. She observed they prefer to live closer to downtown, and don’t want to commute from the suburbs. She also said younger clients are more prone to traveling and moving around and are getting married later.

“It’s the biggest decision and financial investment people make, so naturally they have some concerns,” said Wiser.

However, Wiser said she advises people that buying a home is a smart long-term investment, and young homebuyers may have more financial flexibility than they think.

“The common myth is you need 20 percent of the purchase price for a down payment,” said Wiser. “You can put down as little as 3 percent. Some of my clients qualify for down payment assistance programs and they can put down even less.”

Wiser added that when millennials decide to buy a home, they make smart financial decisions.

“Instead of buying a one bedroom condo, they are able to buy a two or three bedroom house and rent out rooms and help supplement their mortgage.”

Still, Daise said she’s not ready to make the commitment.

“Not anytime soon,” said Daise. “Maybe in a few years when I have more savings.”