Millennials are the largest living population in the United States, and have become a big player in the housing market. According to a Zillow group report, millennials made up 42 percent of home buyers in 2016 – more than any other generation.
Some of their buying habits mirror those of their grandparents’ generation, like skipping ‘starter’ homes and going straight for purchasing larger properties at higher prices. They also veer towards townhouses and homes with shared community amenities, while also looking for neighborhoods that are walkable to shopping and stores, and give access to public transportation.
One way they differ compared to older generations is that they are waiting a little longer to purchase their first home. Millennials want to buy a home, but need to get other finances in order first, including student loan debts that are plaguing the generation. These debts have caused some to move back in with their parents immediately after college, waiting until they have a better handle before heading into the housing market.
Unsurprisingly, we are seeing mortgage companies vying for the millennial market. Recently, lenders started offering ‘reward points’ to attract the young generation. However, advisors would still recommend looking for the mortgage with the best rates and closing costs instead of basing a major financial decision on reward points.
The baby boomer generation makes up nearly 20% of the American population, ranging in ages from 53 to 71 in 2017. Baby boomers are ‘retiring in droves’ according to a recent Bloomberg article. In the fourth quarter of 2016, this generation had a marked increase in number of Americans 65+ that are no longer in the labor force. It is suggested that this accelerated retirement rate affirms that this generation is beginning their exodus into retirement. Some of the generation surely still looks forward to the golf and relaxation plan for their later years, while others are adjusting their work-life-retirement plans to include more meaningful work when nearing retirement age. Also, a delay in starting to receiving social security benefits could result in larger benefits.
It should be noted that some baby boomers have acquired higher mortgage debt through the years due to circumstances. A New York Times article, “They’re Growing Older. Their Mortgage Debt is Growing Deeper.”, touches on the issue that people with more mortgage debt tend to stay in the workforce longer than they may have originally planned. This also increases the possibility of more real estate inventory changeover in the coming years.
UPDATE (May 2017): Internet Crime Complaint Center and ALTA confirms that “title companies report 480% increase in wire fraud attacks” in 2016.
We all know that there are new scams and cyber threats daily, more systems and companies are being hacked into, and our personal data is potentially at risk. Some of us have even been the victims of credit card fraud and had our data stolen, just by using our credit cards for basic purchases. We know that the big banks are getting hit as well, and they are trying to battle this growing threat. Sadly, knowing that these security risks are so common can lead to these stories being white noise.
A recent article, ‘Public yawns at threat of cybercrime’, touches on this disconnect with what is becoming an everyday story. Part of the problem may lie in the fact that even with our data being taken or our credit cards being fraudulently used, the problem seems just a hassle to fix. Most of the times the problems can still be resolved with a few phone calls and possibly some fees, but not much else lost. We can forget that these types of things are happening to people at an alarming rate, and often we may not be as vigilant to protect ourselves as we should.
A major issue is that some may not realize how easily scams can happen when buying, selling or refinancing your home. A couple months ago, a woman was tricked into sending money to the wrong bank account. Prior to her closing, the victim received an email saying that as her last step before closing she needed to wire funds, and gave fraudulent bank account information. She thought it was an email from her title company, but it was cyber crooks posing as the company she was doing business with. Her wire of $25,000 that was supposed to go towards the purchase of a new house instead went to these criminals. “Basically everybody said that their hands are tied and it’s our battle because it’s our money,” the victim said. Around the country, similar stories and scams are becoming more prevalent in the real estate industry.
You will find there is a myriad of suggestions out there to protect yourself against different threats in different ways.
- Like protecting your computers and cell phones with the latest patches and updates, and choose strong passwords.
- Be cautious of sharing your personal information, including what you post on social networks and online.
- Beware of phishing emails, even when it looks like it is coming from a company you are doing business with. When in doubt, contact the company by phone (look up the phone number, don’t trust that the phone number in the email is the correct one).
- Continue to learn about common scams and research prevention tips.
- Talk about these things with family, friends, and coworkers to promote others to learn how to protect themselves. Sharing a cybercrime story with a neighbor could be the eye-opener to save them from falling into a scam.
- The best way to protect yourself is to continue to be vigilant and educate yourself.