Here’s How Our Generation Has Bought Property

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Renting seems like a mountain many of us will climb forever. Given the low numbers of starter homes and the proliferation of luxury living when there is development, it's no wonder that millennial homeownership is far lower than for other generations at this time in their lives. A lucky percentage of young homeowners is out there, though, and BuzzFeed's Anne Helen Petersen has been talking to them.


Petersen's latest article, "14 Millennials Got Honest About How They Afforded Homeownership," does what it says on the label. From more than 500 reader submissions, she presents just over a dozen routes toward home ownership, though many of them are strikingly similar. Buying property is one of the most visible test cases for showing off systemic issues of poverty, racism, and inequality. As Petersen put it in a Twitter thread, in many ways, "The only way to buy a house right now is to either have money from a family member in some capacity (inheritance, gift, etc) or to buy in a fairly non-urban place."


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It can be discouraging to read about these kinds of numbers and accounts. Millennials' net worth is, on average, not even $8,000, and large portions of that come from not being able to afford down payments. But Petersen does find a few promising avenues that don't rely on generosity or misfortune. For instance, Ellen in Dubuque, Iowa, was able to take advantage of a neighborhood rejuvenation program that included personal finance classes.

Still, if you've even investigated buying property, you have an appreciation for how complicated it is — and how much it relies on luck. For a problem of this scope, it's worth telling your elected representatives how to think about effecting change.