Millennial Problems: Expectations vs. Reality

It’s hard enough for millennials to spend most of their day buried in mobile technology, so it’s no wonder many of them are ignorant to the fact that it’s darn expensive to be a property owner in San Francisco.

But just how deep is that ignorance? Think Monterey Canyon abyss deep.

Thanks to rental marketplace Apartment List — which, obviously, was founded by two dudes who became landlords in their 20s — we now have a clear picture of the extent to which our favorite generation is out of touch. Millennials in San Francisco polled by the company think they need about $70,000 for a down payment on a new home.

With the general expectation that a down payment covers 20 percent of the property’s selling price, that means millennials believe there to be a market for $350,000 homes in San Francisco.
[jump] WTF? The last time San Francisco’s median home sales price was that low, Bill Clinton was in the White House dealing with an embarrassing sex scandal while most millennials were in diapers or using AOL, or both. Yes, it was 1998.

Check out the trends in this Paragon Real Estate study, but be warned it’s a long read. Then search Zillow for homes for sale in San Francisco at $350,000 or less. Don’t worry, that one will be a quick read.

This level of ignorance should come as no surprise, considering other recent news about how difficult reality is to bear for millennials. Next they will want to Instagram the crackers at communion (crap, that’s already happening). 

But San Francisco millennials shouldn’t feel too bad. Most of their peers, especially in California, are similarly out of touch — unless they live in Detroit and a host of other second-tier U.S. cities, where apparently reality is an everyday part of life. And in New York, millennials are downright pragmatic, nailing the 42 grand figure necessary for a downpayment there (it’s also depressing for San Franciscans that the figure is that low in a place like NYC, where everything else costs just as much as it does here).

Strangely enough, while millennials have unreal expectations about homeownership, they do not expect anyone to bankroll their downpayment, with only 6 percent nationwide expecting to receive more than $10,000 in support. But they’re also not saving at all — at $360 a month, a San Francisco millennial will need 28 years to come up with the downpayment. Heck, BART might actually function properly by then, making the suburbs even more accessible.

Quite the head-scratcher. Oh well, c’est la vie. Where’s that communion wafer we want to post to Instagram? We think the internet can tell us whether that’s Jesus’s likeness we’re seeing or just a dough bubble.

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