When I was born, the median price for a house was $108,900. Now, it's $337,200. Even if you account for inflation, that's about a 45% increase in cost. But buying a house is
something I would like to do. So I'm trying to figure out if I can. The odds are pretty stacked against me. I'm a millennial, and I
graduated college in 2010, right in the middle of the recession. When I entered the workforce,
the job market was rough. Like many of my peers, I
have student loan debt. And on top of that, there aren't very many starter or mid-price homes on the market. My personal financial situation has to do with choices I made. I changed careers at 27, I took out loans to go
back to grad school, and I didn't manage to
save any money before that. But that's not abnormal
for someone my age. According to a LinkedIn study, it's common for millennials to change jobs about three times in the first
five years after college.
And in the eight years
I've been out of college, I've lived in New York
City the whole time. Median cost of a home here? $770,000. I certainly can't afford that. When I look at my income, cost of living and student loan debt, the
idea of buying something as expensive as a house
seems nearly impossible. My dream home would look
something like this. Or this. But even if my boyfriend and
I took our combined income of $100,000 a year, that
apartment is a pipe dream. I went to Business Insider's own financial planner, Lauren Lyons Cole. I figured if anyone could
help me, it would be her. When you're just starting out, you can calculate a general price range by taking your annual income
and multiplying it by three.
With a combined income
of about $100,000 a year, that means a home that
costs around $300,000 would be a good starting point. – That's not as bad as I was expecting, but I have no idea what
I can get for that price. – With a budget like
that in New York City, you probably aren't gonna
find that many options. So you might have to make sacrifices, which could even mean
relocating to another city. But then you have to figure out what kind of job options are there, and how much could you get paid to do the work you want to do. You have to think about which
amenities you really want and which ones you can do without. – I've always wanted some
kind of outdoor space, like maybe a balcony. A two-bedroom would be nice… big windows… maybe a turret. What? I'm a millennial. I'm idealistic. – Once you have an idea
of what you can afford and what you're willing to give up, you can take the next step
and start looking at listings that are available in your price range.
– With the budget Lauren
and I came up with, I browsed options in a few cities I could see myself living in. I wasn't amazed with
anything I came across, but there were some that were nice. Not so much in New York,
especially when I compare it to the apartment I live in now,
which is below market rent. I also checked out Grand Rapids, Michigan because it was number one
on Business Insider's list of best housing markets for millennials. There I did find some amazing
places within my budget, but I can't see myself picking up and moving there right now. For me, owning a place
isn't worth living somewhere where I don't know anyone and
I don't have a job lined up.
So I think for now I'm gonna keep renting and try to save up for a down payment. Maybe in a few years the price of avocado toast will go down, and I'll be able to
afford that dream castle. Maybe a balcony… a two-bedroom would be nice… big windows… maybe a turret..