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State's Millennials Put Off Ownership of Their Own Homes for Good Reasons

Student loans and the high cost of living among reasons many young New Jerseyans live with their parents

It’s a familiar cycle among millennials — go away to college, then move back home. And it’s having an effect on the real estate market in New Jersey.

According to the latest census data, two million New Jerseyans -- one in five -- are between the ages of 18 and 34, and around four in 10 of them live at home with their parents.

“Part of it is not due to desire,” but it’s also due to their economic circumstances,” said James W. Hughes, dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. “They may well have big student loans, they may have been negatively impacted by the Great Recession, they’re trying to catch up with the job market.” They also have the high cost of living to consider, thanks in large part to our proximity to New York.

When asked if he has any plans to buy a home, 24-year-old Robert Reilly said, “Maybe eventually. We do have kids so eventually it’s going to have to happen, I would think, but not soon.”

Millennials carry less credit card debt on average than older generations, but those large student loans are paid back at the expense of their savings accounts and retirement plans. “We have to keep up with the bills. I’m 35 and it’s hard to maintain employment when you get laid off and you have to find another job, and it’s about saving,” said James Conover.

Hughes says home ownership lost some luster among millennials after the Great Recession. “Their parents saw home ownership as the great piggy bank. They’d own a home for 20, 30, 40 years, trade up in the housing market. The equity they’d build up would pay for their kids’ education, would pay for their retirement. But in many cases, the Great Recession changed that dramatically.”

Read the full story on NJTV News Online, a content partner of NJ Spotlight.

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