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Here's good news for homebuilders and sellers: One way that Utah's "millennial generation" those ages 18 to 34 differs from the same age group nationally is they are more likely to buy a home.
"Utah has the second highest percentage of homeownership among millennial households in part due to more of them being married with children," says a new study by the Utah Foundation.
About 41 percent of Utah millennial households own their own home, as opposed to 30 percent of millennials nationally.
That's according to the third of a four-part study released Tuesday by the foundation about differences in attitudes among generations in Utah, which especially focuses on millennials. It surveyed 1,300 Utahns in March.
The foundation notes that Utah which has the nation's youngest median age has the second-highest proportion of millennials in the country. Their preferences will greatly influence what Utah will look like in the future. And the study shows they have a continued big interest in homeownership instead of renting.
It said market analysts and researchers predict "an upswing of younger homebuyers, based on the older segment of millennials (ages 25 to 34) reaching ages where home purchases, marriage and family formation become more prominent."
The study added that more millennials are buying homes here probably because Utahns begin "families at younger ages and [have] a cultural importance on homeownership."
In addition, high rent rates may be making buying a home more attractive. "New two-bedroom apartments in Salt Lake County had rental rates at around $1,400," the study said, "making rental payments higher than mortgage payments on median-priced homes."
It added that U.S. Census data show that Utah renters spend about 35 percent of their income on rent, while the state's homeowners pay about 23 percent on mortgages or other home costs.
Among millennial renters, the study found that a big majority are interested in owning a home. It found 30 percent of renters reported they are "completely uninterested" in home ownership.
When asked about hurdles to homeownership, 51 percent of Utah millennial renters listed inadequate income, 12 percent said they did not want to live in their current location permanently and 11 percent owed too much debt.
When the study split millennials into two groups, it found that 41 percent of the older half (ages 25 to 34) now rent while 82 percent of those who are younger do.
"Married millennials in Utah are more than twice as likely to own their homes than their single peers," the study said. "Those who were married with children were almost five times as likely."
The survey also found that most Utah millennials and Gen Xers (ages 35 to 50) want to live in medium-size cities and suburbs instead of big cities, small towns or rural areas.
While headlines in recent years declared that millennials were much more interested than older generations to seek "big city" life, the foundation's new study said recent research has begun to challenge that assumption.
Instead of wanting to live in big cities themselves, it said millennials appear to be interested instead in the broader benefits of urban communities such as transit access, living close to businesses and work, diverse communities and smaller homes. That can be available in medium-size cities and suburbs.