What’s really holding back young DC-area homebuyers?

WASHINGTON — An Apartment List survey found 94 percent of millennial renters in the Washington area plan to purchase a home at some point in the future, but just 5 percent expect to do so within the next year, and 29 percent say they won’t buy for at least five years.

Affordability is the number one reason, though not necessarily because of the price of the home.

“We find that the down payment specifically is really the big hurdle for millennials,” Chris Salviati at Apartment List told WTOP.

“Many of them actually could afford the monthly mortgage payment but the down payment poses a real problem for them,” he said.

According to the Apartment List survey, 48 percent of D.C.-area renters who want to buy currently have zero money set aside for a home purchased down payment. Just 16 percent have saved $10,000 or more.

Sometimes parents are willing and able to help their young adult children with a home purchase down payment, but that can be complicated.

“The lender might require some type of documentation to confirm that you are getting a gift that does not need to be repaid instead of a personal loan. Even if you are receiving a gift for part of the down payment, there may be requirements that your personal money is contributing to some share of that down payment as well,” Salviati said.

Apartment List calculates, based on median millennial income in the Washington metro and median home prices, just 14 percent of young firsts time buyers could save up for a 20 percent down payment within five years.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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