For decades, owning a home has been seen as a hallmark of the “American dream” and a major life milestone.
It’s “embedded in how we think about real estate,” Mark Eppli, director of the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, tells CNBC Make It. And purchasing a home is a way to build generational wealth.
Things may be changing, however. For many millennials, home ownership is out of reach. About one in three millennials under the age of 35 owned a home at the end of 2018, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That number is eight to nine percentage points lower than Baby Boomers and Gen X home ownership rates were at ages 25 to 34.
But what does that mean for the happiness of those who can’t or won’t buy a home? Is buying a home really a key to happiness, or