NEW YORK (6/3/14)--Despite an overwhelming preference to buy, only 36% of those in the U.S. under the age of 35 are homeowners, the lowest number since 1982, according to recent data from the Census Bureau (CNNMoney.com June 2).
A recent survey by Fannie Mae found that nearly 90% of millennials, or those born between the early 1980s and early 2000s, would rather buy a home than rent.
But because of high levels of student loans, tight lending standards, recent upticks in home prices and a leaner housing inventory, millennials largely haven't been able to scrub clean their credit or save enough for a down payment to make a purchase.
"When we surveyed millennials, they cited several barriers to homeownership, especially access to financing," Steve Deggendorf, Fannie Mae senior director, told CNNMoney.com.
While the ability to buy a home appears to be lagging, the interest in doing so remains strong, according to the Fannie Mae survey.
Nearly 60% of "younger renters" said they would rather own a home than rent. And more than 85% of "younger owners" said they'd prefer to continue to own a home.
Perhaps contributing to the dearth of young homeowners is that many potential homebuyers are wary of securing a mortgage.
In a survey released Monday by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, 1 in 5 respondents said they don't believe taking out a mortgage is worth the risk.
Another factor perhaps keeping young people out of the housing market is their lack of confidence in being approved for a mortgage.
The Fannie Mae survey found that younger renters continue to be pessimistic about their chances of securing a mortgage, likely stemming from the fact that many are still paying off student loans.
That pessimism only climbed as income levels among those surveyed fell.
Further, the majority of younger renters reported not having enough cash or assets to cover even a 5% down payment plus closing costs on a starter home.
In the face of these obstacles, though, the majority of younger renters said that purchasing a home is still in their plans, with roughly half reporting that they plan to buy the next time they move.