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Lending

Turning 20-somethings into home buyers

You're still selling certainty in an uncertain time, and it's to skeptics

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The ABS Vegas 2014 conference for investors is covering a lot of ground, including a topic discussed on the HousingWire website in recent months: Whether 20-somethings will ever come back into the housing market?

In a panel discussion, the reluctant first-time homebuyer segment also captured the attention of investors attending the event put on by The Structured Finance Industry Group and Information Management Network.

Moderator Vishwanath Tirupattur, managing director at Morgan Stanley, led the panel and the question was whether the trend of first-time buyers putting off their new home purchase is a long-term or short-term dynamic.

The first time age of buyers is getting older. Is this going to be a long-term trend? Looks like HousingWire hit the nail on the head in prior coverage of this issue.

Laurie Goodman, center director for the Housing Finance Policy Center at the Urban Institute, said the staggering amount of student loan debt is a bigger issue on home purchase decisions rather than a generational shift in living preferences.

"The amount of student loan debt was $221 billion in 2003, and it's close to over $1 trillion in 2013," she said. "The cost is delaying people from forming households and buying first homes."

She said there is a generational difference between how older buyers see homes as a store of value versus a place to live.

"Homeownership and household formation rates will change when there is a broader economic recovery," Goodman said.

Alex Villacorta, vice president of research and analytics for Clear Capital Generation, said he thinks Generation Y buyers are ready to transition to home buyers, but there needs to be better products that appeal to people who can’t envision a 30-year commitment when they don’t see job security like previous generations.

"Y'ers were Y-bother? But they will start forming families and become Ynot’ers,” he said. "Last year investor activity and jumbos made up a lot of home purchase activity, but if we have a broader economic growth they will start moving towards the trends of previous generations."

Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic, said the economic uncertainty among younger buyers is the problem, and everyone along the pipeline will have to think about products that appeal to a more skeptical, less invested generation of buyers.

"How do we address this over the 10-15 years, and if we don’t find ways to lend to this demographic the housing market will not have a lot of homes for sale in a few decades," Fleming said.

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