I am a Sharer. At JBREC, we use the term Sharer to mean someone who was born in the 1980s and who is currently 26–35 today. There are 44 million of us in the US, and I have outlined our defining characteristics below:
- We share our likes and location on social media. (This is sometimes me.)
- We share rides on Uber or vacation rentals on Airbnb. (I know I do.)
- We believe our education is not paying off yet due to a poor economy and high student debt. While the Great Recession made us more educated, practical, and thrifty, we are less likely to commit—especially when it comes to home purchases. (Certain of these characteristics certainly describe me.)
- Many of us share a home with our parents and are delaying marriage and children, thus delaying household formation and homeownership by 5+/- years. (No and yes for me.)
- We are close to our parents. This is in part due to the advent of the birth control pill, which was approved in 1960 and resulted in a sharp drop in the number of children per household. (I am definitely close to my parents.)
As Sharers, we are an important demographic decade that will greatly impact the housing industry. In 2015, we headed 18.8 million households in the US, including 7.4 million owned homes and 11.4 million rented homes.
While most of us have been more likely to rent and live urban—due to delayed marriage/kids and huge improvements in big city living—we are becoming more prevalent in the housing market today. Builders are starting to tailor homes for our decade (see Starter Home Solutions in Expensive Markets), but the big boom will likely come when we move to the suburbs for affordability and schools.
I bought my first home in 2014. I was tired of the apartment lifestyle, paying rent, and wanted to take advantage of low interest rates. My preferences included:
- Townhouse for affordability, but an open floor plan for having friends and family over
- Dedicated work space for telecommuting
- Didn’t need new construction but did not want to do major improvements
- Good suburban location close to retail, but with a sense of community
I, like many Sharers, do not consider my first home purchase a “forever home.” Instead, I looked for one that reminded me of the American Dream, where I could start the next chapter of my life.