ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- Adults aged 23 to 37, otherwise known as millennials are staying or returning home now more than ever. This pattern has been on the rise for nearly 20 years and local real estate experts say the Rock River Valley is not alone with this trend.
Conor Brown, CEO of Rockford Area Realtors, says this topic is a trending scenario for most of the United States. He says, "It is a nationwide trend, and it's actually been highlighted in numerous communities and has caught the attention of the National Association of Realtors."
Thanks to student loan debt, rising rents, and stagnant wages in millennial's jobs, these are just some of the reasons why Brooke Pearson can't move out of her parents house. She says, "If I could go, I'd go right now. But sadly I can't do that." However she does say there is one perk of living at home, "I don't have to pay rent or anything, which is real nice."
Pearson also pays full-time for school, not getting granted any loans or FAFSA, so she pays out of pocket. She has a full-time job, which is good, except when it comes to the pay. Pearson says, "I am only working one job that is slowly cutting my hours so that's not enough for me to continue my basic life style not including the fact that I want to move out soon."
According to Zillow, more than 1-in-5 adults, or 22% of millennial Americans return to their childhood bedrooms. Brown says that because millennial's at times rely on their parents, those same parents may have gone through some tough times during the 2008 housing recession.
He says, "A lot of millennial's may have seen their parents lose their home through the last recession and I think that could quite a significant impact on them that you know they may not want to feel the pain of foreclosures."
But the Rock River Valley stands out from other housing markets, as it's a more robust housing market with affordable living spaces. Using these facts, realtors agree that this is a great first market for first-time buyers. Brown says, "Rockford market we're a little bit more fortunate because of how affordable we are compared to the rest of the country and that includes property taxes and insurance and things like that go into the cost of home ownership. We do see that as kind of a competitive advantage frankly."
According to the Illinois Association of Realtors, the median home price in the Rockford MSA, which includes Winnebago and Boone Counties, is $126,000. Compared to the Peoria MSA at $127,300 and the 9-County Chicagoland MSA with a median home price of $259,000, houses are going quickly, making it a sellers market.
There are many ways you can prepare, just like how Michael Bolonkowski prepared to move out of his parents house. It begins as simply as watching your spending habits. Bolonkowski says, "It started with just limiting my spending, so knowing what money I saved from work to where it should go and where it should not go, limiting it only to bills and the rest putting it away in a savings account so that I know the money I have secured for my place will be secure."
When you are ready to apply for a loan or a mortgage from the bank or loan officer, the best recommendation is to work with a realtor, like Halina Borowski of Gambino Realtors, who worked with Bolonkowski from the beginning. But you have to move fast, as this market has a high turnover rate.
Borowski says, "You have to be quick. Because right now, the market everything is selling. So if you think about seriously buying, as soon as an agent calls you with a nice home or condo that shows up on a market, you gotta go see it."