To young adults years ago, buying a home used to signify you’d made it. Now thanks to the recession and the crush of student loans, millennials with any inclination to buy a home are living on a hope and a prayer.In the Times yesterday, Tara Siegel Bernard interviewed a young Brooklyn couple, the McKinneys (not pictured), who exemplify just how backwards the housing market has become.
They did everything right to save for a down payment—held a small wedding at home, steadily paid off their credit debt, saved slowly, putting away about $700 each month—and yet despite the impressive $20,000 they’d amassed, “something always seemed to happen,” said the wife.
“‘Unless you are a lawyer, owning a home is out of the question,'” said Mr. Kinney, adding that they would need to save the equivalent of one year’s salary, before taxes, to come up with the full 20 per cent down payment needed to avoid private mortgage insurance. “‘That’s a lot of money and assumes nothing ever comes up.'”
Of course prices in New York defy logic—a typical house goes for more than $250,000—but if playing by the rules won’t even land you a home, why bother plotting a future at all? More to the point, should the McKinneys just give up their dream of homeownership altogether so they can pursue a larger paycheck and actually get ahead?
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