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Millennials flock to Seattle but homeowners are getting older

Millennial population growth is beating the national average but they’re not keeping up in the housing market

Millennials. Ruiners of everything. Never working as hard as you did when you were their age. Always asking for more than they deserve. Is there anything good about them???

Well, you better hope so because according to Apartment List, millennials are flocking to Seattle more than most major U.S. cities. Out of the 50 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, Seattle ranked No. 4 in terms of millennial population growth between 2005-2015 with an increase of 15.3 percent.

They note that millennials are drawn to place with strong job markets, which Seattle certainly is, especially in the tech world.

One aspect that millennials aren’t keeping up, however, is home ownership. The millennial homeownership rate fell by seven percent nationwide. Here in Seattle, that rate only fell 3.9 percent, a promising sign but still one that signals buying a home remains a challenge for them.

That’s confirmed by Gene Balk at The Seattle Times who wrote about how King County homeowners are getting older.

Overall, the number of homeowners in the county hit a record 491,000 last year, surpassing the 2008 high of 486,000. And it happened in dramatic fashion, surging by more than 20,000 in a year — the biggest single-year increase in King County since the Census Bureau became producing annual estimates in 2005.

But it was homeowners age 55 and over driving all that local growth — they numbered 233,000 last year, an increase of more than 60,000 since 2005.

Balk notes that it’s not like people in that age bracket are buying up all the homes. Conversely, they were mostly already baby boomers who just aged up. Couple that with the fact that millennials aren’t buying homes at the same rate and that’s how you get here.

In fact, there were 51,000 homeowners in King County under the age of 35 in 2015. That number is almost even with the number in 2005, declining just slightly.

Still, millennials are doing better than their predecessors. King County homeowners in the 35-54 bracket declined 26,000 between 2005 to 2015. That’s a nine percent drop. The theory goes that Gen Xers lost more in the recession than millennials and have to do more to work their way back up.