But some new data shows an even more striking trend: the average age of millennial home buyers has been falling pretty steadily.
The data comes from Ellie Mae, the back-office technology provider for many mortgage lenders, which allows it to process more than 30% of all U.S. residential mortgages.
Ellie Mae executive Joe Tyrrell told MarketWatch that surging rental costs are likely nudging people into homeownership at ever-younger ages. That’s a different narrative than the idea that millennials just took longer to grow up than previous generations, after being slammed by the worst economic downturn in a century and struggling to service huge amounts of student debt.
It’s not clear what’s behind the sharp uptick in ages at the beginning of the year. It’s possible that the recent tax-law changes may have caused some younger would-be buyers to hang back, allowing the average age to skew upwards.
In any case, after the early 2018 blip, that downward slope in age seems to have resumed, and is worth keeping an eye on.