According to the National Association of Realtors 2017 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report, first time buyers now account for 35% of home buying activity for 2016, up 32% from 2015. Millenials made up the bulk of first-time buyers at 66%, and have consistently represented the largest share of first-time buyers for the last 4 years.
This increase in first-time buyer activity comes as a result of higher incomes and a thriving economy. The biggest challenge for millennials continues to be student loan debt and rising home prices.
Even with the increase in first-time buyer activity, college-educated young adults are still having difficulty purchasing homes due to rising rents and lower salaries, which is driving them to take on housemates or move back in with their parents. This trend is one of the reasons for the dip in home ownership, which is at its lowest rate in almost 50 years.