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Opinion, commentary, and analysis on everything that makes the U.S. housing economy tick -- not to mention the ghosts in the machine, too. Written by HW's team of editors and reporters each business day.
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Dispatch from #HousingOurFuture: Most cities “handcuffed” by lack of affordable housing

FOMO no more

November 18, 2016

Fritz Waldvogel is a Millennial. He also originates mortgages for Dougherty Mortgage.

When asked on a panel why more Millennials aren’t buying homes, he provided a simple answer: “People are moving where the jobs are,” said Fritz.

Homeownership is obviously second to employment for any generation. However, the panel of Millennials at the Housing America’s Families Forum currently underway in Dallas at the George W. Bush Presidential Library indicated that jobs aren’t the problem.

“Millennials don’t view homeownership as something 'in the now',” said Brena Swanson, digital reporter for HousingWire. Panelist agreed that mortgages may offer too large a committment for those mobile professionals in their 20s.

Even when they get dream jobs, they are still unlikely to buy. But why?

The problem is that the cities that Millennials want to move to — the Nashvilles and the Denvers of the nation — are not unlike coastal cities in that there simply isn’t enough affordability to make the leap.

“Cities are handcuffed by lack of affordable housing,” said Kimble Ratliff of the National Multifamily Housing Council.

The event was hosted by the J. Ronald Terwilliger Foundation for Housing America's Families. Benny Johnson of the Independent Journal Review moderated the discussion, himself a recent Washington D.C. homeowner who once bemoaned that mortgages will never attract Millennials because there is no FOMO.

Times have changed, Johnson admits, and the prospect of new opportunities help drive Millennials into homeownership.

“I’m definitely going to Airbnb my house for Trump’s inauguration,” Johnson said.

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