College-educated Denver millennials need 15 years to save a down payment Denver Post

May 05, 2016 / Posted in Condos, Denver, Developments, Downtown

Nationally, a college-educated person who is under age 36 with no student debt needs about 5.3 years on average to save for a 20 percent down payment on a median-priced home, according to the survey of more than 30,000 renters.

In metro Denver, that same renter will require 14.8 years to get enough set aside for a median-priced home.

Normally, those without student loans can save more for a home each month, but Denver is an exception. A millennial with student loans needs about 11.8 years. Millennials with no college education in Denver need 23.7 years on average.

Why so long? Metro Denver’s median home price is now among the highest in the country outside the Pacific coast. And Denver millennials make — and save — less than those residing in more expensive markets.

“The takeaway for Denver is that it is quite unaffordable for all three groups of renters,” said Andrew Woo, director of data science at the San Francisco-based provider of apartment listings and market research.

In Atlanta, college-educated millennials without student loan debt can save enough for 20 percent down on a median-priced home in under two years, based on their existing savings, the help expected from family, and how much they are saving each month.

A separate survey from Citizens Bank last month found that millennials with college debt are diverting nearly a fifth of their income to cover loan payments, and that a majority expect they will pay college debt well into their 40s.

Although student debt burdens are cited as a major impediment to home ownership, the Apartment List study suggests that skipping college puts a young adult at an even greater disadvantage.

In metro Denver, that segment of millennials without college education reported making $37,190 a year on average compared with $70,310 for unencumbered former college students and $75,710 for the college educated carrying debt.

In Denver, those with student loan debt set more aside than those without debts — $230 a month vs. $180.

In San Francisco, by contrast, those with student debts are able to put away only $170 a month, while debt-free collegians are stashing away $690 a month.

Woo said graduate students, who tend to carry higher debts but also obtain higher-paying jobs, could be skewing the numbers in Denver.

Millennials without a college education in Denver are the most likely to get stuck renting or having to relocate to a more affordable city to buy, Woo said.

To speed up the process, more millennials could purchase a home with a down payment as low as 3.5 percent. But the trade-off includes higher monthly mortgage payments and more risk. Zero-down and low-down-payment mortgages were a major contributor to last decade’s housing crisis.

Millennials are often defined as the generation born between 1980 and 1996, although some definitions push it to 2000. Their financial struggles cause them to delay marriage, having children and buying homes.

First-time buyers now account for only 32 percent of all homes bought versus 40 percent historically, according to the National Association of Realtors. And a record-high four in 10 millennials live at home with their parents or a relative and are even further removed from home ownership.


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