Aurora ranks high among large U.S. cities where it’s easier for Gen Zers to own homes, new study says

A new study ranks Aurora among the top large U.S. cities where members of Generation Z have chance of becoming homeowners — even as housing affordability was a top issue for voters in the suburban city’s recent elections.

The Jan. 18 report published by Point2, a company that analyzes real estate trends, reviewed data for 100 major cities. Aurora ranked ninth on its list of places where a person younger than 25 “stands a chance of owning a home.”

Aurora’s ranking compared to Denver, which came in 19th, and Colorado Springs, which ranked 20th.

The rankings might seem counterintuitive, in some ways, since metro Denver is usually seen as less affordable than Colorado Springs. But Point2’s study says the factors considered, including household incomes, can combine in unique ways for younger buyers. Aurora, which has nearly 394,000 residents, has a wide variety of housing choices, from older subdivisions of small houses to new subdivisions and apartment communities.

The cities were ranked based on weighted averages of home price-to-income ratios, median sales price differences from 2022 to 2023, home inventory available, the share of houses sold above asking price, days on the market, homeownership rates and unemployment rates.

Gen Z, which is roughly defined as those born between the late 1990s and early 2010s, is estimated to number 69.6 million people, or about 21% of the country’s population. At the top of the list of most attainable places for homeownership were major cities in the South and Midwest.

Census data show that about 17% of Gen Z households own their own homes. While that number is expected to grow, according to the study, homeownership has been unattainable for many young people.

Large cities in California are more difficult for Gen Zers to put down ownership roots, according to the study, with Fremont in the Bay Area listed as the most difficult city for the age group to buy. Home prices there were almost 23 times what younger households were making in income, and houses were being taken off the market in 10 days. Behind Fremont were San Diego and Lexington, Kentucky.

Overall, Point2 gave Aurora a score of 72.78 out of 100, with the city’s Gen Z homeownership rate listed at 13.9%. The Gen Z homeownership rates for Denver and Colorado Springs were 8.9% and 8.4%, respectively.

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Despite this bit of good news for the youngest buyers, Colorado’s major cities face overall housing affordability challenges, with growing rates of homelessness.

And in October, the Common Sense Institute, a business-oriented think tank based in Greenwood Village, published a report that stated that Aurora’s housing affordability had plummeted to its lowest point in more than two decades, almost doubling in cost in the last eight years, because of increased prices and interest rates. Housing costs, the study noted, were outpacing residents’ incomes, and there was a supply shortage.

Still, Aurora’s average home prices were more affordable than Colorado’s overall, according to the study.

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