Nearly half of all adults would buy their childhood home if they could afford it

by Emily Marek

Forty-four percent of adults would buy their childhood home if it was financially feasible, according to a new survey from Zillow — and that number is even higher among millennials and Gen Z adults.

Zillow attributes this trend to a growing sense of nostalgia for easier times.

“It appears younger generations aren’t just nostalgic for low-rise jeans and Barbie, but for a simpler time in their lives when home was a place of comfort and safety,” Manny Garcia, senior population scientist at Zillow, said in a press release. “They may associate positive memories with their childhood home, having lived there without the burdens of rent, mortgage payments, maintenance, insurance or other housing hurdles. Today, a comparable home can feel out of reach, especially for younger adults who aspire to buy, but face steep affordability challenges.

Millennials were most likely to say they’d buy their childhood home, with 62% of people born in the ’80s saying they’d do so if they could afford it. Meanwhile, 55% of people born in the ’90s would purchase their childhood home. However, a majority of both groups — 47% and 62%, respectively — say they wouldn’t be able to afford that home at today’s prices.

Despite this trend, affordability wasn’t necessarily better when millennials were younger — Zillow points out that mortgage rates jumped above 18% in 1981, making the typical monthly mortgage payment equal to about 55% of the median income at the time. Today, the typical monthly mortgage represents about 40% of a typical income. While that’s well above the 30% considered “affordable,” it’s not so steep that would-be buyers should view past eras of real estate through rose-colored glasses.

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