Gen Z Home Buyer Report: 2024 Edition

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By Jaime Dunaway-Seale Updated July 8, 2024

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Barriers to Homeownership | Unrealistic Expectations | Gen Z's Price Bracket | Savings | Buying a Fixer-Upper | Offering Over Asking Price | Priorities Greater Than Homeownership | Financial Assistance | Homeowner Regrets | Where Gen Z Wants to Live

🔑 Does Gen Z actually want to own a home? 🔑

About 92% of zoomers say owning a home is important, but 96% prioritize other goals over homeownership.

Gen Z may be the new kids on the block in the housing market, but they're jumping into home buying with the same enthusiasm they bring to the latest TikTok dance.

About 93% of adult zoomers want to own a home, with 58% saying they want to own property so they can be rich and wealthy someday. 

But with high interest rates and a lack of available homes sending prices soaring, 60% of Gen Z worry they might never own a home, according to a new study from Clever Real Estate. 

To learn more about Gen Z home buyers, we asked 1,000 zoomers about their home-buying plans and strategies. We found that 96% have concerns about buying a home, including 54% who worry they won't be able to afford it and 48% who worry about hidden costs. 

As it stands, only 18% of Gen Z buyers say they could currently afford a home purchase, and few feel optimistic about their future prospects. About 80% of zoomers are concerned the market will get worse before they buy a home. 

Nearly 2 in 3 zoomers (61%) don't feel ready for homeownership at this stage in their life, but with home prices skyrocketing, many don't think they can afford to wait. 

🏡 Gen Z Home Buyer Statistics

  • Approximately 60% of Gen Z worry they might never own a home.
  • Nearly 1 in 3 zoomers (29%) think they'll someday own a home worth more than $1 million, but a majority of Gen Z (52%) anticipate their first home will cost less than $250,000.
  • About 98% of Gen Z say they face barriers to homeownership, with expensive homes (50%) and high interest rates (31%) the most common barriers.
  • A majority of zoomers (52%) who do not yet own a home have struggled to pay rent, and 1 in 3 Gen Z homeowners (33%) have struggled to pay their mortgage.
  • About 63% of zoomers have less than $10,000 in savings, compared to just 25% of millennials. Zoomers (17%) are also 3x more likely than millennials (5%) to have nothing saved.
  • Some zoomers are so desperate to own homes, 56% would buy a home with asbestos, and 54% would buy a home that lacks central air conditioning or heating. 
  • The average home buyer in the U.S. is 35 years old, but 90% of zoomers think they'll buy a home at a younger age — including 33% who think they'll own a home by the time they're 25.
  • Although 92% of zoomers say owning a home someday is important, 96% say it's not the most important goal in life.
    • Gen Z would rather prioritize stable employment (51%) and building their career (48%) over homeownership, among other goals.
  • One-third of Gen Z homeowners (33%) say their parents helped with their down payment, and 31% say they moved in with their parents to save money for their home.
  • Approximately 79% of Gen Z homeowners don't think the average member of their generation can afford a home, but only 12% feel guilty for owning a home when their peers cannot.
  • About 68% of Gen Z homeowners have regrets about their purchase, with 21% saying they didn't have sufficient knowledge about the home-buying process.
    • 38% of zoomers say they received information about home buying from TikTok, but 15% of Gen Z homeowners say the advice they got from TikTok and other social media was bad.

Half of Gen Z Say High Prices Are a Barrier to Homeownership

Gen Z homeownership rates are tracking ahead of other generations at the same age, but a whopping 98% of zoomers say they still face barriers to homeownership.

The one-two punch of high home prices and interest rates are the most common obstacles for Gen Z, with 50% saying expensive homes and 31% saying interest rates are a barrier to homeownership.

These can be difficult hurdles to overcome when 29% of zoomers say they can barely make ends meet as it is.

Since the pandemic, persistent inflation has caused food prices to rise 25% and rent prices to rise 30%. The increase has pushed the limits of zoomers' budgets, with 52% of non-homeowners saying they have struggled to pay rent

Elevated costs for necessities have made it difficult for Gen Z to set aside cash for a future home purchase. In fact, 29% say saving for a down payment is a barrier to homeownership, and 28% worry their down payment will be too small.

Although some zoomers get cash gifts from their family to help with a down payment, working and saving are still the most common ways they build a nest egg. However, Gen Z graduates have struggled to find high-paying jobs as they compete with more experienced workers in a cooler labor market

About 27% say their lack of stable employment is a barrier to homeownership, while 25% say the same about their entry-level salary.

1 in 3 Zoomers Think They'll Own a Million-Dollar Home Someday

Real financial barriers stand in the way of Gen Z homeownership, but the greatest obstacle may be unrealistic expectations that make them ill prepared to buy a home.

Some in Gen Z may seriously overestimate how much house they can afford. The median home price in the U.S. is about $420,000, but 1 in 5 zoomers (20%) think their first house will cost $450,000 or more.

Zoomers may be willing to pay an untenable high price for their first home because they expect the property to include luxury amenities they say they can't live without.

Gen Z buyers prioritize high-tech home features, with 40% saying they expect their first home to have an alarm system and 29% saying they expect smart technology

Zoomers also say their first homes must have:

  • An attached garage (29%)
  • A pool (22%)
  • A game room (16%)
  • A home theater (15%)
  • A personal library (14%)
  • A guest house (12%)

Gen Z has even more lavish plans for their subsequent properties. Nearly 1 in 3 zoomers (29%) think they'll someday own a home worth more than $1 million

However, non-homeowners are 43% more likely than homeowners to believe they'll own a million-dollar home, indicating that those without firsthand knowledge of the true costs of homeownership often have the most unrealistic expectations. 

Gen Z buyers who are not adequately prepared for homeownership often experience disappointment as a result. About 65% of Gen Z homeowners say they didn't get all their desired features in their home.

Half of Gen Z Plan to Buy a Home Worth Less Than $250,000

Despite some delusions of grandeur, most zoomers aren't fooling themselves about what kind of house they can afford. A majority of Gen Z (52%) anticipate buying a starter home that costs less than $250,000.

Yet even that may be a stretch for Gen Z's limited budgets. Based on their current finances, 61% of Gen Z say they have less than $10,000 to put toward a home purchase.

If they applied that money toward a standard 20% down payment, Gen Z could only afford a home worth $50,000 or less. If they put down 10%, Gen Z could afford a home worth no more than $100,000.

However, only 13% of zoomers expect to purchase a home within their realistic budget of less than $100,000.

Nearly 1 in 5 Zoomers Have $0 in Savings

Gen Z may not have a lot of money to put toward a home, but more than 1 in 3 zoomers (34%) think they're doing better financially than millennials.

Gen Z has viciously mocked millennials for their side parts and skinny jeans, but millennials may get the last laugh in the housing market. 

Roughly 63% of zoomers have less than $10,000 in savings, compared to just 25% of millennials. Zoomers (17%) are also 3x more likely than millennials (5%) to have nothing saved.

With so little in savings, it will take zoomers much longer than millennials to amass enough money for a home purchase. 

The median-priced home costs about 6x the median U.S. salary, meaning the average buyer needs to save roughly six years to afford a home.

However, 69% of zoomers plan to save for fewer than six years and will likely fall short of the amount needed for a down payment.

More Than Half of Gen Z Would Buy a Fixer-Upper

With a limited budget to put toward a home, the only properties available to Gen Z might be those in disrepair.

Although 42% of zoomers are concerned about having to make major renovations to a home, 57% would be willing to put in an offer on a fixer-upper. 

Some zoomers are so desperate to own homes they would buy properties that need significant upgrades or pose serious health risks:

  • 56% would buy a home with asbestos.
  • 54% would buy a home that lacks central air conditioning or heating.
  • 50% would buy a home that smells like cigarette smoke.
  • 44% would buy a home with foundation issues.
  • 41% would buy a home with a leaky roof.

Not only do fixer-uppers require structural repairs, they also likely possess outdated home styles that need changed, too.

Gen Z thinks boomers (36%) have the worst decorating style, followed by millennials (27%). In fact, Gen Z considers some of millennials' favorite design trends — white kitchens and gray interiors — as cheugy as the tears of joy emoji. 😂

But to snag a home, a majority of Gen Z would suffer outdated design trends: 

  • 89% would buy a home sporting popular millennial designs.
  • 88% would buy a home with a lot of wallpaper.
  • 83% would buy a home with wall-to-wall carpeting.

With 1 in 5 zoomers (22%) saying a lack of affordable starter homes is a barrier to homeownership, buying a fixer-upper might seem like a budget-friendly option. But they can be costly to repair and maintain. 

Of the 40% of Gen Z homeowners who purchased a fixer-upper, 27% regret it.

Gen Z may be willing to buy a fixer-upper if it will help them achieve homeownership, but they won't consider purchasing a home in any condition if it doesn't have their must-have amenities. 

Zoomers say they can't live without the following features in a home:

  • A laundry room (44%)
  • Backyard space (39%)
  • Space to grow into with a family (35%)
  • Lots of natural light (31%)
  • A garage (30%)

More Than 1 in 4 Zoomers Would Offer $50,000 Over Asking Price for Their Dream Home

Expensive homes and high interest rates have caused some buyers to drop out of the housing market, but nearly 1 in 4 zoomers (24%) say competition among first-time buyers is still a barrier to homeownership. 

With millennials waiting longer to buy homes, there's an ever greater battle between the two youngest generations for the most affordable starter homes. About 45% of zoomers think millennials are their biggest competition in the housing market, compared to just 28% who say the same about buyers from their own generation.

While some zoomers hope to achieve homeownership by pursuing fixer-uppers that aren't in high demand, others are taking financial risks to beat the competition.

Approximately 78% of Gen Z would offer over asking price on a home. Of those, more than 1 in 4 zoomers (28%) would offer $50,000 or more above asking price, and 1 in 10 buyers (10%) would offer $100,000 or more.

Offering over the asking price may make a bid more attractive to sellers, but it makes expensive homes even more so for buyers who likely don't have tens of thousands of dollars in extra cash.

Despite the stereotype that Gen Z workers are lazy and entitled, they'll work hard to make up the difference. Half of Gen Z (50%) say they'd work a second job to afford a home. The cohort would also make other financial and social sacrifices, including:

  • Staying home rather than going out (46%)
  • Buying a smaller home than desired (40%)
  • Moving in with their parents to save money (39%)
  • Moving to a different city or state (38%)
  • Buying a home without their desired features (36%)
  • Waiting to have kids (34%)
  • Attending a more affordable college (23%)

Gen Z is willing to give up a lot to own a home, but the thought of limiting nonessential spending on travel and their social life does concern 33% of zoomers. 

Meanwhile, some zoomers question why they should make sacrifices when they can remain financially dependent on others. About 1 in 8 zoomers (12%) say they'd create a GoFundMe campaign to ask for money for their home purchase.

Nearly 1 in 10 zoomers (9%) would also skip other debt payments to afford a home, even though it could hurt their chances of qualifying for a mortgage. 

96% of Zoomers Prioritize Other Goals Over Homeownership

Despite the obstacles that stand in their way, Gen Z is surprisingly optimistic about their chances of owning a home. 

The average home buyer in the U.S. is 35 years old, but 90% of zoomers think they'll buy a home at a younger age — including 33% who think they'll own a home by the time they're 25.

Only 4% of zoomers believe they'll never own a home. Of those who don't see homeownership in their future, 57% say it's because they won't be able to afford it.

Affordability is the main concern, but about one-fourth of zoomers (23%) who think they'll never own a home say they simply don't want to. Gen Z may not want to own a home for a variety of reasons:

  • 18% say their lifestyle isn't compatible with homeownership.
  • 11% say they'd rather rent.
  • 9% say they'd rather achieve other milestones.

Although some zoomers eschew the path to the white picket fence, about 92% say owning a home someday is important. However, 96% say homeownership is not the most important goal in life.

As they graduate college and enter the workforce, Gen Z is noticeably more focused on their professional development. About 51% say stable employment is more important than homeownership, while 48% say the same about building their career. 

Gen Z also places a greater emphasis on social aspirations. Instead of buying a home, Gen Z would rather:

  • Start a family (32%)
  • Get married (32%)
  • Travel the world (29%)

One-Third of Gen Z Homeowners Received Financial Help From Their Parents

House hunting is never easy, but for a brief period of time, Gen Z benefited from favorable economic conditions that helped them reach homeownership faster than older generations

Gen Z got a leg up in the housing market by taking advantage of record-low mortgage rates and entering the workforce during the tight labor market of the pandemic — helping them build income as wages rose 12% from 2019 to 2023.

In fact, Gen Z homeowners say they were able to buy a house so young because they made enough income (48%), started saving young (46%), and never had any debt (36%).

Despite these advantages, 61% of zoomers think their own generation has had the hardest time buying homes — even though millennials entered the workforce during the Great Recession and have struggled to build wealth.

Recent rate hikes and stubbornly high home prices have drastically changed zoomers' situation, and many buyers have had to lean on their parents for help. Approximately 33% say their parents helped with their down payment, and 31% say they moved in with their parents to save for a home.

Even with financial help, 1 in 3 zoomers (33%) have struggled to pay their mortgage, and 1 in 8 (13%) regret that their mortgage is too expensive.

Homes are often pitched as an investment that increases in value over time, but nearly half of Gen Z homeowners (47%) say homeownership has not had a positive impact on their financial situation.

After experiencing the costs firsthand, 79% of Gen Z homeowners don't think the average member of their generation can afford a home. 

Owning a home is a big dream for young people, but with it becoming more difficult to attain, some who have accomplished the feat feel misplaced guilt for owning a home when their peers can't afford it. Millennials (33%) are nearly 3x more likely to feel guilty than zoomers (12%).

The disparity may be the result of Gen Z's belief that housing affordability is a problem not to be solved through personal circumstances but rather policy change. About 84% of zoomers who don't own homes think the government should do more to help first-time home buyers afford housing.

Two-Thirds of Gen Z Home Buyers Have Regrets

After the excitement of buying a home wears off, many zoomers realize their home doesn't measure up to their expectations. Approximately 68% of Gen Z homeowners have regrets about their purchase.

Understanding the commitments of homeownership can help prevent remorse, but the most common regret is not being educated about buying a home. More than 1 in 5 zoomers (21%) say they did not have sufficient knowledge about the process.

Although there are a number of reliable resources to help educate Americans about buying a home, Gen Z predictably flocks to social media. About 38% of zoomers receive home-buying information from TikTok, but more than 1 in 7 homeowners (15%) say the advice they got from TikTok and other social media was bad. 

TikTok's short, engaging videos can help Gen Z grasp complicated real estate topics, but users should carefully screen content creators before taking their advice.

After a lack of education, the most common regrets Gen Z homeowners have are:

  • A high interest rate (17%)
  • Buying a fixer-upper (13%)
  • Buying too young (13%)
  • A lack of young people in their neighborhood (13%)
  • An expensive mortgage (13%)

1 in 8 Gen Z Homeowners Regret Being the Youngest Residents in Their Neighborhood

Deciding where to spend the next decade or more of their lives can be a difficult and stressful decision for young home buyers. One-fourth of zoomers (25%) say not knowing where to live is actually a barrier that prevents them from buying a home.

Many zoomers let their finances guide their decision. Nearly two-thirds of Gen Z homeowners (67%) say affordability was the most influential factor in determining their choice of home

Consequently, it's not surprising that Gen Z isn't interested in expensive city living. Fewer than one-third of the cohort (30%) lives in the city. Meanwhile, nearly half of all zoomers (49%) live in the suburbs, with that percentage rising to about two-thirds of Gen Z homeowners (66%). 

If given the choice, more zoomers would prefer to move to the suburbs, with 53% saying it's the most desirable place to live, compared to 24% who say the same about the city.

In fact, 45% say an urban area is the least desirable place to live. It's even more undesirable than a rural area, which 38% of zoomers selected as the worst place to live.

Suburban living has plenty of advantages: less crime, more affordable homes, and larger lots. However, the suburban population tends to be older, and zoomers may struggle to find community. 

About 38% of Gen Z homeowners say they are the youngest residents in their neighborhood, and 13% regret that there aren't more young people in their area.

Zoomers Want a Good Neighborhood, but 1 in 5 Would Buy a Home Near a Nightclub

After affordability, Gen Z homeowners said a desirable neighborhood (55%) and a safe neighborhood (44%) had the biggest influence on their choice of home.

However, the most desirable neighborhoods are often the most expensive, and Gen Z may be forced to settle for less-than-ideal locations. If it was the only home available in their budget:

  • 30% would buy a home near an airport.
  • 29% would buy a home near a cemetery.
  • 28% would buy a home near railroad tracks.
  • 26% would buy a home near a busy highway.
  • 22% would buy a home near a nightclub.

Homes in these areas may be less expensive, but the surrounding noise can cause many negative effects, including mental health problems, chronic stress, and poor sleep.

The Best Time to Buy a Home in Every State

StateBest month for priceBest month for housing inventory
AlabamaJanuaryNovember
AlaskaDecemberSeptember
ArizonaJanuaryJanuary
ArkansasJanuaryMay
CaliforniaJanuaryJanuary
Colorado NovemberSeptember
ConnecticutDecemberJuly
DelawareJanuaryNovember
FloridaOctoberDecember
GeorgiaJanuaryNovember
HawaiiFebruaryMarch
IdahoJanuarySeptember
IllinoisJanuaryOctober
IndianaJanuaryNovember
IowaJanuaryOctober
KansasDecemberOctober
KentuckyJanuaryJanuary
LouisianaDecemberOctober
MaineJanuaryOctober
MarylandJanuaryOctober
MassachusettsJanuaryJune
Michigan JanuaryNovember
MinnesotaJanuaryOctober
MississippiJanuaryNovember
MissouriJanuaryOctober
MontanaNovemberSeptember
NebraskaJanuaryOctober
NevadaJanuaryJanuary
New HampshireJanuaryOctober
New JerseyJanuaryJanuary
New MexicoJanuaryOctober
New YorkSeptemberJuly
North CarolinaJanuaryOctober
North DakotaJanuaryOctober
OhioJanuaryOctober
OklahomaJanuaryNovember
OregonJanuarySeptember
PennsylvaniaJanuaryOctober
Rhode IslandJanuaryOctober
South CarolinaJanuaryNovember
South DakotaJanuarySeptember
TennesseeJanuaryOctober
TexasJanuaryOctober
UtahJanuaryOctober
VermontFebruaryOctober
Virginia JanuaryJune
WashingtonJanuarySeptember
West Virginia JanuaryJanuary
WisconsinJanuaryOctober
WyomingMaySeptember

Methodology

Clever Real Estate surveyed 1,000 Gen Z adults on their views about buying and owning a home. The survey was conducted May 16-21, 2024.

About Clever

Since 2017, Clever Real Estate has been on a mission to make selling or buying a home easier and more affordable for everyone. 12 million annual readers rely on Clever's library of educational content and data-driven research to make smarter real estate decisions—and to date, Clever has helped consumers save more than $160 million on realtor fees. Clever's research has been featured in The New York Times, Business Insider, Inman, Housing Wire, and many more.

More Research From Clever

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FAQs

Does Gen Z want to own homes?

About 92% of zoomers say owning a home is important, but 96% prioritize other goals over homeownership. Learn more.

By what age do Gen Zers plan to buy a home?

The average home buyer in the U.S. is 35 years old, but 90% of zoomers think they'll buy a home at a younger age — including 33% who think they'll own a home by the time they're 25. Learn more.

How does Gen Z afford homes?

Approximately 33% of Gen Z homeowners say their parents helped with their down payment, and 31% say they moved in with their parents to save money. Learn more.

What are the biggest barriers to Gen Z homeownership?

The one-two punch of high home prices and interest rates are the most common obstacles for Gen Z, with 50% saying expensive homes and 31% saying interest rates are a barrier to homeownership. Learn more.

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