Minneapolis is second in the nation for millennial homebuyers

Millennial homeowners? Can it be true?

Millennial homeowners? Can it be true? Getty Images/iStockphoto

If a drinking game required you to take a shot every time you read about millennials failing to buy the same stuff as previous generations, you’d pass out somewhere between “diamonds” and “fabric softener.”

And if a drinking game required you to take a shot every time Minneapolis’ affordable housing crisis was mentioned, it might be the last game you ever played.

Yet, according to mortgage data, Minneapolis is second best in the nation when it comes to millennials buying homes. Of the United States’ 50 largest cities, we’re tied with Pittsburgh with 48 percent of our home purchase requests coming from adults under 35.

The top of the heap is Salt Lake City, where more than half (51 percent) of its home purchasers are people who likely once owned a Tamagotchi or a Razor scooter. Buffalo came in third at 46 percent, and Denver, St. Louis, and Kansas City tied for fourth at 45 percent. (Salt Lake City actually has a younger population on average, which brings down the average age of prospective buyers.)

Don’t freak out -- you haven’t fallen into a parallel universe where millennials are suddenly flush with cash and Minneapolis has loads of affordable housing to spare. The kids are still struggling; they still entered the job force on the cusp of a recession and signed up for some of the most expensive student loans the country has ever seen.

And our fair city is definitely struggling to house its residents. A healthy housing market should have a vacancy rate of about 5 percent, and the Twin Cities’ is more like 2.2 percent.

But cities like Minneapolis exist in that buttery zone before "desirable" becomes "unattainable." Millennials, LendingTree Chief Economist Tendayi Kapfidze told the Daily Mail, have less net worth than previous generations at the same age, so they’re investing in cities proportionate to their means – smaller, but still substantial markets away from expensive major cities. Consider places where they aren’t buying as much: Los Angeles, New York City, and San Diego.

Despite all the hand-wringing and finger-wagging, this generation is growing up and moving in. Buckle up, boomers: Your new neighbors might just be childless, diamondless youngsters who don't use fabric softener. And they would still like to know why their college education cost more than the down payment on their house.