It looks like millennials are finally jumping into the home ownership phase of their grownup lives. Reports from Realtor.com identified some hot spots where millennials accounted for a significant portion of new mortgages. Some of these cities are not the usual millennial haunts: Des Moines, Iowa; Provo, Utah and the cities of Baton Rouge Lafayette, New Orleans and Shreveport in Louisiana among many others.
It may be that value-oriented millennials were holding off on buying their own homes because they were waiting for affordable starter homes. One of the nation’s largest homebuilders, D.R. Horton, launched a new division called Express to focus on affordable entry-level homes. Since this sector is not a high-profit project, other builders have taken a wait-and-see strategy to see how D.R. Horton fares. Horton has delivered in spades with 14 percent of its 2015 revenue attributed to the Express Division, lifting its net sales figure to 26 percent for the year.
Taking a page from D.R. Horton’s strategy, Meritage Homes has begun developing entry-level-plus homes that are priced at $200,000, which is lower than the price of standard Meritage homes by about $50,000 to $100,000. These Houston homes are smaller and stripped of features such as mud rooms and intricate details to meet the price points. By using more practical materials such as pressboard counters, Colorado’s Terrain community by Tri Pointe Group Inc. has developed homes that are priced lower than traditional construction by as much as 30 percent.
Housing affordability will drive millennials to buy their starter homes in 2016. Rents are rising, making home ownership a more viable option especially when affordable housing units are available.wpid-20110910_140127.jpg

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