One significant part of the American dream is to own one's own house, of which, taking somebody born in 1955, and therefore a baby boomer, and having them purchase a home in 1987, we find that as listed by the census.gov that the median price of that home in 1987 would have been $104,500. On the other hand, taking somebody born in 1985, and therefore a millennial, and having them purchase a home in 2017, we find that as listed by the census.gov that the median price of that home would have been $323,100, or an increase in the price of the home of 209.19%.
Obviously, during that interim the income and salaries of those employed have also risen, but so significantly have some of the costs that the millennial generation must deal with such as their far higher student loan and tuition costs, healthcare costs, gasoline and vehicle costs, insurance costs of all sorts, and accessories such as cell phones, the internet, streaming devices, and other modern inventions that simply didn’t exist in 1987. While there have been some consumer items that have not advanced much in regards to inflation, the main component of a house that has come down, is the mortgage interest cost, which has in recent times been at near historic lows, and is most definitely a very meaningful factor in the overall cost of a given home.
However, another factor adversely affecting the ability of the millennial generation to purchase a home is their confidence in their employment status, of which, the era of stable and secure employment with a given employer, has become far more precarious than it was a generation before them, and in recognition of that insecurity, some of those that can currently afford a home, are less reluctant to pursue that avenue, especially when they have so much other debt and obligations to attend to.
Additionally, the marriage rate of Americans has declined significantly since 1987, and in an era in which it never has been more important to have a dual income in order to afford a house, the fact that less people are married lends itself to less people being able to purchase their own home. While it is true that a couple need not be married in order to be a couple, the situation in which two people that are together, but are not married, makes the process, and the terms and conditions of purchasing a home, much more problematic, for the paperwork, legal ownership, and negotiations involved.
All of the above factors are meaningful reasons why the millennial generation does not own homes at even close to the percentage rate that the baby boomer generation does. This certainly does not indicate that the millennial generation is foolish for having not done so; but more correctly indicates that they in comparison to the baby boomer generation, lack more often the monetary capacity to prudently purchase a home, and that the decision to do so, is far more problematic for those of their generation, in contrast to the baby boomer generation; for the millennial generation has expenses, debts, and the price of homes which are all higher to contend with, and their job security as well as their inflation adjusted household income have suffered, so that the result is that they don't buy what they really cannot afford.