The Tale of Two Studies

I’m busy working on some blockchain-related research, but saw something come across my feeds that I thought deserved a brief treatment.

On Inman, I see this: Where are the hearts and minds of Americans after 2021’s wild real estate ride? It’s a sponsored post talking about a study commissioned by Coldwell Banker looking at consumer sentiment for real estate. Here’s one of the key findings:

Homeownership trumps dream destinations, big weddings, and student debt

  • After more than a year indoors, owning a dream home outshined that next bucket list destination, with approximately 77% of Americans reporting that they’d rather invest their money in homeownership instead of spending on a vacation.
  • 82% of unmarried Americans surveyed, including 85% of females. would rather invest in a home than pay for a big expensive wedding.
  • Similarly, 41% of college graduates are likely to select “owning a home” as a more important financial goal than “paying off student debt” (17%).

Additionally, 45% of Gen Zers and Millennials between the ages of 18-44 say that owning a home is an important financial goal to them compared to only 30% of Americans over the age of 55.

That’s the tale of one study. We’ll call this the “hearts and minds” narrative, because that’s the phrase Inman (and Coldwell Banker) keep using.

Here’s the other study: 2021 U.S. millennials and home ownership study – A distant dream for most. Click through if you want to read the actual study. So what are the findings of this study?

It’s important to note that those we surveyed were not yet homeowners.  But we already know from the Census Bureau that this represents over half the generation, more than 36 million people. And the big takeaway was that people 25 to 40 years old are having to make difficult decisions about where to live, because, as they state in the verbatims, there isn’t enough opportunity to purchase affordable housing to live where they want to live, and/or where they’re working, and so renting is currently far more expedient.

That’s the big takeaway. Because these Millennials — who the author points out are no longer kids, as a third of them are between 35 and 40 years old — can’t afford to buy houses:

Affordability is a key theme here. Seven out of ten millennials who live in big cities or their suburbs, across all ages and categories, say that their living situation is hard or extremely hard to afford. No matter where they lived, more than half of them (56 percent) found their area hard to afford. Among those millennials we surveyed, the ability to make the leap to home ownership is a problem for the vast majority—73 percent of the respondents who don’t own property are making the lifestyle choice to rent.

We’ll call this the “cold hard reality” narrative. It seems relevant that the institution that sponsored this study is Legal & General, a UK investment firm with some $1.3 trillion under management.

Decide which narrative makes sense to you, and act accordingly.

As for me, I know that I deeply want a 992 Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet. I have to note that I don’t see one in my garage.


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Rob Hahn

Rob Hahn

Managing Partner of 7DS Associates, and the grand poobah of this here blog. Once called "a revolutionary in a really nice suit", people often wonder what I do for a living because I have the temerity to not talk about my clients and my work for clients. Suffice to say that I do strategy work for some of the largest organizations and companies in real estate, as well as some of the smallest startups and agent teams, but usually only on projects that interest me with big implications for reforming this wonderful, crazy, lovable yet frustrating real estate industry of ours.

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2 thoughts on “The Tale of Two Studies”

  1. A new home is a symbol of wellbeing and good health. If the house was spacious with high ceilings in your dream, this plot means that you feel confident and secure in real life. A small but cozy house predicts a pleasant acquaintance. If you happen to buy an unfinished home, you run the risk of losing your property.

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