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An analysis of Census Bureau data shows that 53 percent of Millennials in Greater Hartford now own homes, but separate studies released in recent days suggest that the remaining 47 percent of area Millennials face a steeper path to ownership than their peers.

Economists at rental listings portal Apartment List analyzed national and metro-level data to find that the share of the Millennial generation who are homeowners passed the 50 percent mark last year, with 51.5 percent owning, now. In general, more Millennials own homes in the country’s smaller housing markets, like Grand Rapids, Michigan, St. Louis, Missouri and Minneapolis, Minnesota.

This compares poorly to Generation X, whose home ownership share had reached 58 percent when it was the same age.

Younger Millennials appear to have been hit hardest, a separate, national-level analysis by economists at for-sale listings portal and residential brokerage Redfin found. While 62 the oldest Millennials, who are just hitting 40, own their own homes compared to 69 percent of Baby Boomers and 64 percent of Gen Xers at that age, just 43 percent of 30-year-olds owned their own homes last year versus 52 percent of Boomers and 49 percent of Gen Xers at that age.

“Millennials have been financially unlucky. Their parents had a more straightforward financial journey,” Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather said in a statement. “The oldest millennials entered the workforce during the 2001 recession. Then came the 2008 financial crisis, with many millennials in their first post-college job. It limited their earnings, overall wealth and ability to buy a home for many years afterward. Millennials started to gain homebuying momentum just before the pandemic, but they were once again dealt a bad hand with pandemic-related job losses in April 2020.”

Generation Z’s home ownership rate, by contrast, appears to be tracking with that of Gen X and the Baby Boom generation, Redfin found. Thirty percent of 25-year-olds owned their home in 2022, compared to 28 percent of Millennials, 27 percent of Gen Xers and 32 percent of Boomers when they were each 25. They appear to have been helped by a strong job market that greeted them as they graduated high school and college, combined with the pandemic-era drop in mortgage rates to 3 percent or below and first-time buyers’ tendency to buy smaller, cheaper houses. The typical primary residence purchased by someone under 25 in 2022 cost $235,000, Redfin said, and came with a $10,000 down payment (assuming a conventional loan). Redfin compared that to the median $355,000 home and its $30,000 down payment for 25-34 year olds.

“The rising tide lifted Gen Z homebuyers in 2020 and 2021; they were part of the pandemic-driven homebuying frenzy,” Fairweather said. “Record-low mortgage rates, remote work providing freedom to move somewhere more affordable and skyrocketing rental costs motivated some Gen Zers to break into the housing market. While the oldest of their generation had just graduated college when the pandemic started and hadn’t started building up their bank accounts, they had some financial advantages. The unemployment rate was near record lows in late 2021 and 2022, with pandemic-related labor shortages in industries that attract young workers like hospitality and retail prompting those employers to boost pay. Government stimulus payments, the pause on student loan repayments and the fact that many young adults lived with family during the lockdowns also helped Gen Zers save money.”

But it’s an open question whether or not either Gen Zers or Millennials who haven’t yet bought will be able to make much headway. Many Millennial renters are not well-positioned for home ownership, a recent Apartment List survey found, with 67 percent having saved no money for a down payment and another 18 percent having saved less than $10,000. That survey found the share of Millennial renters who think they will “always rent” has steadily increased since 2018, and hit 24.7 percent last year.

A Zillow survey conducted in mid-March found 52 percent of Gen Zers and 57 percent of Millennials who don’t currently own think they’d need to win the lottery to be able to afford a home, while many others thought they’d need a second or third job, or to give up all spending on clothing, dining and entertainment.

In Greater Hartford, prospects for first-time buyers aren’t especially encouraging. The bottom third of the market by price saw inventory collapse 32 percent in March on a year-over-year basis, Zillow reported recently, the 17th-worst in the nation’s top 50 markets. The median home value in that market segment, according to the listings portal’s internal algorithm, was up 43 percent over the course of the pandemic compared to a 31 percent increase in the top tier of the market. That top end of the Hartford market saw inventory slip 9 percent in March on a year-over-year basis, Zillow reported.