How a Desire to Live in DC is Hindering Millennial Homeownership

by Nena Perry-Brown

How a Desire to Live in DC is Hindering Millennial Homeownership: Figure 1
Homeownership rate over time for persons 18-34 years old. Click to enlarge.

Earlier this week, UrbanTurf explored the conclusions of a new study from Urban Institute that examines why the millennial home ownership rate is lower than previous generations. Today, we take a look at the study's parsing of how millennials' preferences on where to live have contributed to these lower rates of homeownership, particularly in the DC area.

A major contributor to the lower homeownership rate among millennials with higher levels of educational attainment is a preference for living in urban areas, which often have an inelastic housing supply. This is particularly true in the DC area, where millennials' migration patterns have mirrored the shift in median home prices. 

How a Desire to Live in DC is Hindering Millennial Homeownership: Figure 2
Millennial migration patterns and home price increases in the DC area. Click to enlarge.

"In Loudoun County, a suburban county an hour outside the city center, the share of 18-to-34-year old residents decreased 5.8 percentage points, from 25.5 percent in 2005 to 19.7 percent in 2015," the report states. "The county saw median home prices decline from $499,900 to $441,000. In contrast, both DC proper and Arlington County, denser counties toward the city center, saw their 18-to-34-year-old population share increase 8.2 and 6.6 percent, respectively. In DC proper, the median home price rose 29 percent between 2005 and 2015, and in Arlington County, home prices rose 22 percent."

How a Desire to Live in DC is Hindering Millennial Homeownership: Figure 3
How the distribution of home prices changed in the DC area. Click to enlarge.

The above graphs illustrate that shift in the distribution of home prices, toward the seven-figure range in DC proper and Arlington County over the last decade, compared to a shift in the opposite direction in Loudoun County. Additionally, the lack of affordable housing for rent in city centers hinders millennials' ability to save up to make a down payment on a home purchase.

The recommendations Urban Institute offers to help increase the rate of homeownership among millennials would be beneficial to more than just millennials, including more lenient zoning that would increase the supply of affordable housing (a well-documented need in DC proper) and using rental payment history as a factor in determining credit-worthiness (a concept floated in DC Council, albeit only in reference to public housing residents).

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/how-desiring-to-live-in-dc-is-hindering-millennial-homeownership/14223

DC Real Estate Guides

Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market

We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!

Northern Virginia

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods across Northern Virginia

Looking to Give People A Reason to Stay Past 6pm
Happily Straddling the Line Between City and Suburb
Columbia Pike
Arlington’s Neglected Stepchild is Getting a Makeover
Crystal City
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Lyon Village
Developing An Air of Exclusivity?
Hitting Its Growth Spurt
An Urban Village Hitting Its Stride
Del Ray
Virginia’s Small Town Near the Big City
Eisenhower Avenue
The Vibrancy Might Take a Few Years
The Quiet Neighborhood By the Beltway
Old Town
Mayberry By The Potomac
132 Commerical-Free Acres
Downtown Falls Church
Staying the Same in the Midst of Change
Tysons Corner
Radical Change Could Be On The Way

See more Northern Virginia »


Profiles of 14 neighborhoods in suburban Maryland

Small-Town Living in the State Capital
Bedroom Community Gets Buzzing Cache
Cabin John
In With The New While Maintaining the Old
Chevy Chase
Affluence, Green Lawns and Pricey Homes
Downtown Silver Spring
Experiencing a Resurgence After a Bumpy History
A Suburb on Steroids
Rockville Town Square
Despite the Dynamism, Still Somewhat Generic
Takoma Park
More Than a Little Bit Quirky
A Foodie Magnet on the Verge of Change
Capitol Heights
Kudzu, Front Porches and Crime
Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Mount Rainier
Artists, Affordable Homes and A Silo Full of Corn
National Harbor
A Development Rises Next to the Potomac
Riverdale Park
A Town Looking For Its Identity

See more Maryland »

Northwest DC

30+ neighborhood profiles for the city's biggest quadrant

16th Street Heights
DC's Sleeper Neighborhood
Where (Almost) Everyone Knows Your Name
AU Park
One of DC’s Last Frontiers Before the Suburbs
DC’s Northern Neighborhood on the Cusp
DC’s 535 House Neighborhood
Cathedral Heights
Do You Know Where That Is?
Chevy Chase DC
Not to Be Confused With the Other Chevy Chase
Cleveland Park
Coming Back After A Rough Year
Columbia Heights
DC’s Most Diverse Neighborhood, But For How Long?
An Island of Serenity East of the Park
Dupont Circle
The Best of DC (For a Price)
Foggy Bottom & West End
Where the Institutional Meets the International
Forest Hills
Ambassadors and Adventurous Architecture
Foxhall Village
350 Homes Just West of Georgetown
Friendship Heights
A Shopping Mecca With a Few Places to Live
History, Hoyas and H&M
Glover Park
One of DC’s Preppier and More Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
A Posh View From Embassy Row
LeDroit Park
A Quiet Enclave in the Middle of the City
Logan Circle
Trendy Now, But Not By Accident
Mount Pleasant
Sought-After Homes Surround Main Street in Transition
Mount Vernon Triangle
From Seedy to Sought-After
The Long, Skinny Neighborhood at the City’s Northwest Edge
Park View
It’s Not Petworth
Penn Quarter/Chinatown
DC’s Go-Go-Go Neighborhood
Getting a Vibrancy of Its Own
The Duke’s Former Stomping Ground
Shepherd Park
DC’s Garden of Diversity
Spring Valley
A Suburb With a DC Zip Code
Not To Be Confused With Takoma Park
Not Quite Like Its Neighbors
U Street Corridor
The Difference a Decade Makes
Woodley Park
Deceptively Residential
Adams Morgan
No Longer DC’s Hippest Neighborhood, But Still Loved by Residents

See more Northwest DC »

Southwest DC

The little quadrant that could

Southwest Waterfront
A Neighborhood Where A Change Is Gonna Come

See more Southwest DC »

Northeast DC

Profiles of 10 neighborhoods in NE

New Development Could Shake Up Pastoral Peace
A Little Bit of Country Just Inside the District’s Borders
Not to Be Confused With Bloomingdale
Fort Totten
Five Years Could Make a Big Difference
H Street
A Place To Party, and To Settle Down
The Northeast Neighborhood That Few Know About
Michigan Park
A Newsletter-On-Your-Doorstep Community
Evolving from a Brand to a Neighborhood
Ripe for Investment Right About Now
The Difference 5 Years Makes
Big Houses, A Dusty Commercial Strip and Potential

See more Northeast DC »

Southeast DC

6 neighborhoods from Capitol Hill to East of the River

Capitol Riverfront
Still Growing
Hill East
Capitol Hill’s Lesser Known Neighbor
Congress Heights
Gradually Rising
Notable for Its Neighborliness
Historic Anacostia
Future Promise Breeds Cautious Optimism
Eastern Market
A More European Way of Living

See more Southeast DC »