With memories of housing crash, older millennials prefer stocks

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Still feeling aftershocks of the housing crisis, older millennials and younger Generation Xers would rather invest in stocks than real estate, according to brokerage and real estate data firm Redfin.

How people view the best way to build their wealth — real estate vs. stocks — was partly influenced by their age when the crisis happened. Indeed, the 35-44 year-old range was prime home buying age when the housing bubble popped, likely explaining why 52% prefer putting money in the stock market. Every other age range viewed real estate as the better investment of the two.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, ages 55-64 believe the most in real estate, with 62% choosing that investment class.

"The oldest millennials and youngest Gen-Xers entered their late 20s or early 30s during the housing crash, which explains why they are more skeptical about investing in real estate," Daryl Fairweather, Redfin's chief economist, said in a press release. "This generation experienced a major setback during the housing bust, which hit just as they were most likely to be getting married, starting a family and becoming a first-time homeowner."

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Property values in 2018 went above the housing bubble peak, but home price growth is slowing. The stock market declines of December and year-over-year mortgage rate increases have added to the decelerated rate of home price growth.

Falling prices, combined with an increasing inventory plus millennials' positive outlook on obtaining mortgages, should all push application and homeowner numbers in the coming years.

"Looking into the future, we expect to see homeownership increase as [younger] millennials enter prime home buying age. This is because millennials have a more favorable opinion of real estate as an investment than Gen-Xers. And millennials are a larger group than Gen-Xers," said Fairweather.

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Real estate investments Stocks Housing market First time home buyers Mortgage rates Redfin Practice Management Resource Center