The U.S. Census Bureau announced last week that the home ownership rate is currently at 62.9 percent, a non-seasonally-adjusted figure. According to the Federal Reserve Economic Data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, this is the lowest the home ownership rate has been in 51 years.
In addition, the National Association of Realtors released its annual survey on first-time home buyers back in November and reported that the share of first-time buyers had declined for the third consecutive year, remaining at its lowest point since 1987.
Whether or not these statistics are due to economic ability or lifestyle changes is a matter of debate. Are Millennials avoiding home ownership because they lack the economic ability (due to high student loans, underemployment, etc.), because they don’t care to own property, or both? I honestly couldn’t tell you because I am a rare Millennial homeowner.
But what I can tell you is that home ownership is often a first step before consumers choose to buy a boat. If an adult does not have the ability or desire to invest in a home, which can yield a return on investment, why would they purchase a product they don’t technically need that depreciates in value as soon as they leave the lot?
That’s the question we have to keep answering in boating. We have to give them a reason. Whether it’s addressing affordability, introducing them to the benefits of the lifestyle or providing additional ways to get on the water without ownership, in hopes of converting them to buyers in the future. The home ownership stats show us that we have a lot of work to do.