Millennials Place Higher Priority on Homeownership than Marriage, Kids


Millennials want to own their own homes.

In fact, they place far more value on homeownership than they do on getting married and having children.

Emmie Martin of CNBC Make It reports:

A full 72 percent of Millennials list owning a home as a top priority, according to Bank of America's 2018 Homebuyer Insights Report, which surveyed 2,000 adults who currently own a home or plan to in the future. By contrast, 50 percent list getting married and 44 percent say having children.

Are Millennials attracted to  anything more than homeownership? Yes. Martin writes, “The only thing Millennials care about more than buying a home is being able to retire, with 80 percent of survey respondents citing it as a top priority.”

The Bank of America survey found that Millennials saw homeownership as a sign of maturity, an indicator that they had fully entered the adult world, and that it signified independence and self-sufficiency.

Millennials have lagged behind other generations in homeownership. Some cite student debt, and others have attributed this to less income overall. Millennials have also had a higher tendency to live at home with their parents.

Homeownership, then, is a way Millennials can assert independence from mom and dad, demonstrate to their peers that they’ve made enough money to stand on their own, and eliminated enough student debt to pay the mortgage (and to have a credit rating worthy of a loan).

But why does homeownership rank so far ahead of marriage and family?

Marriage tends to increase financial stability. And, interestingly enough, committed couples who purchase a home together are less likely to divorce. Children fill a house with joy, laughter, and plenty of chaos, but do wonders with regard to making a house a home.

Those are common sense arguments for marriage before homeownership. As for kids, I’ll save those arguments for another blog entry.

I’ve long held the conviction that churches should make a stronger case for marriage and family formation to emerging generations. It’s well established that Millennials have delayed marriage, a trend that is likely to continue with Generation Z.

In an individualistic society, commitments like marriage and the responsibilities that come with childrearing are seen as restrictive. They are. But they also offer tremendous goods. Accompanied by other virtues, marriage and family can contribute to a deeply meaningful experience of life.

Churches should encourage emerging generations toward marriage and family and should make the arguments supporting such a choice.

Marriage and family work as part of a virtuous circle. They strengthen society while also increasing the degree of investment of those who are part of that society. If you have children, you want the world they inherit to be as stable and healthy as possible, thus participation in cultural institutions (schools, churches, government, etc.) becomes incentivized, not just for you, but for your posterity.

The case for marriage can be made without denigrating those who are single. Singleness, also, can be a good. Singles within a Christian fellowship can be an incredible blessing to the body of Christ. I argue that both messages need to be heard: single people are loved and valued, and marriage is a good worth pursuing.

Homeownership is definitely a good. But Christian marriage that is fidelitous, monogamous, and guided by the Spirit of God, can yield tremendous blessing not only for the committed couple, but for the wider fellowship as well.

Bonus: it can also help with paying the mortgage.