In 2016, millennials made up 32 percent of the homebuying market, the lowest percentage of young adults to achieve that milestone since 1987. Nearly two-thirds of renters say they can’t afford a home.
Even worse, the market is only getting more challenging: The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index rose 6.3 percent last year, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal. This is almost twice the rate of income growth and three times the rate of inflation. Realtor.com found that the supply of starter homes shrinks 17 percent every year.
It’s not news that the homebuying market, and the economy, were very different 60 years ago. But it’s important to emphasize how the factors that created the homeownership boom in the ’50s—widespread government intervention that tipped the scales for single-family homes, more open land for development and starter-home construction, and racist housing laws and discriminatory practices that damaged neighborhoods and perpetuated poverty—have led to many of our current housing issues.