It’s a ‘nepo’ housing market. More than a third of Gen Zers and millennials expect their parents to help with a down payment, survey finds



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Everybody needs a little help sometimes. And in this housing market, people need their parents’ help. More than a third of millennials and Gen Zers who are planning to buy a home expect their parents, or family, to help with their down payment in the form of a cash gift, according to a Redfin-commissioned survey. 

If not cash, younger generations looking to buy a home are also planning to dip into their inheritance to fund their down payment, or are simply living with their parents or other family members to save money, Redfin data journalist Dana Anderson wrote. Unsurprisingly, younger generations are twice as likely to visit the bank of mom and dad for a down payment on a home than they were five years ago. “Just 18% of millennials used a cash gift from family to help fund their down payment in 2019, according to a Redfin survey from that time, and the share had only increased to 23% by 2023,” Anderson wrote. 

We all know why that is. Home prices rose substantially during the pandemic housing boom, and mortgage rates soared not long after; by Redfin’s calculations, home prices are up almost 40% since the start of the pandemic, and rose 7% in the last year alone on the back of tight supply. As of the fourth quarter of last year, the median sales price for houses sold in the country was $417,700. 

“Because housing costs have soared so much, many young adults with family money get help from Mom and Dad even when they have jobs and earn a perfectly respectable income,” Redfin’s chief economist, Daryl Fairweather, said. 

Last year, Redfin conducted a survey of recent movers and found that 38% of more than 500 buyers under the age of 30 either used a cash gift from a family member or an inheritance for their down payment. Redfin’s Fairweather, called them “nepo-homebuyers,” a play on words, clearly drawing on nepotism. So forget Hollywood’s “nepo-babies,” we’ve got “nepo-homebuyers”—what does that tell you about the housing market?

Consider this, the average home value in Los Angeles is $953,501. If you want to put 20% down, that’s $190,700; if you want to put 10% down, that’s $95,350. The median household income in the city is $76,244. If that’s not realistic, consider a more affordable city, like Austin, where the average home value is $533,719. If you want to put 20% down, that’s still $106,744. 

Fairweather was a nepo-homebuyer herself. Her mother gave her the money she needed for a down payment when she was 27 years old, Fairweather previously told Fortune. “Had it not been for her doing that, it would have taken me years to be able to afford a home of my own,” Fairweather said, later adding that “year after year, prices kept going up.” 

Even self-made millionaire, self-proclaimed New York City real estate queen, and Shark Tank star Barbara Corcoran, is telling younger people to ask their parents for help so they can buy a home.

“I have advised more people in their twenties to hit up their parents,” Corcoran said on a podcast last year. “There’s no shame in that. Nobody buys under 40 in New York without the help of their family.”

And we know parents are helping. John Burns Research and Consulting’s vice president of demographics, Eric Finnigan, recently told Fortune that baby boomers were powering the housing market in multiple ways—for one, by assisting their children. “They are still funding the purchase,” he said, “of their adult children’s homes.”

But here’s the thing, in a time when family money matters more than ever, not every family can afford to do this. 

“The bigger problem is that young Americans who don’t have family money are often shut out of homeownership,” Fairweather said. “Many of them earn a perfectly good income, too, but they aren’t able to afford a home because they’re at a generational disadvantage; they don’t have a pot of family money to dip into.”

She continued: “The American Dream is just as much about class mobility as it is the home with a white-picket fence, and the housing affordability crisis has made both elements of the dream harder to attain.”

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