Really? Is it so much different than it ever was? Of course, we are always going to boom and bust cycles. I have seen too many of them to know that neither lasts forever. So, factoring out supply and demand, easy tough credit qualifying, and just general ups and downs, I don’t believe it is any worse for first time home buyers than it has ever been. My opening observation for this is going back to my own childhood and remembering my dad telling me how he lay awake nights worrying about how he was ever going to meet his new $40 per month house payment! I don’t have any idea what that little “cracker box house” really cost initially, I just know I always hated it and vowed that I would start out with a much more substantial home myself. Little did I know that I was forming right then and there the crux of what I think the issue is.
Yes, my first house was much nicer than my father’s first and only house. Yes, we struggled to get into it and put a ton of sweat and tears into that first home and yes I was scared to death I wouldn’t be able to meet the obligation monthly. By this time, I had 3 little ones at home and that fear was real and well founded. However, if I had been satisfied to accept the same limitations that my father did on his house, it would have been easy. No, I was going to do better than that. I was going to not be satisfied with something that meager and so I sweated and squirmed and pulled it off.
I was part of this baby boomer generation. We all expected more than our parents had. Our parents expected us to have more than they ever had and they did everything to prepare us to do just that. We did! Is there some carry over to the current crop of first time home buyers? I think so. Is it just the same? No of course not. It is never just the same, but still relevant.
I believe many of the current crop of first time homebuyers do not necessarily believe they must do better than their parents. The current economic outlook doesn’t paint quite as rosy or optimistic an outlook as the post war generation experienced. Our recent recession saw a real trend towards the “chick” never leaving the nest and in fact setting up residence in the parent’s basement. Their optimism was laying pooled out around them at their feet.
This is not the time or place (nor do I have the wisdom, only suspicions) to lay blame for that agonizing period in our lives. I think common wisdom says we are well out of it but caution remains a byproduct of that economic experience. Perhaps first time home buyers now have a better perspective on just what to expect in a first home. Their recent experiences should have offered them up that as part of their perspective BUT, I still hold strong to the idea they would have never put up with the HOME that my father provide with love and fear for his struggling young family. Of that I am convinced!