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Realtor Freddie Smith shows the math of why millennials can't afford a house.

Does this conversation sound familiar?

Millennial: "Housing costs are ridiculous. And now mortgage rates are double what they were a few years ago. How am I supposed to afford to buy a house?"

Boomer: "You know what the interest rate was on my first house? Over 16%. I'd have loved to have a 7% interest mortgage!"

Millennial: "But you could raise a family on a single middle-class income when you were my age. That's just not possible now."

Boomer: "Well, maybe if you stopped buying avocado toast and Starbucks, you could afford a house."

Millennial: [blank stare]

Generational battles over economics aren't new, but some eras provide more fodder for such exchanges than others. Right now, it's the cost of housing that has younger people feeling stuck while older folks (or people who were lucky enough to land a house several years ago) are sitting pretty on the equity they've gained since the pandemic started.

Those of us who already own a house and aren't thinking of selling any time soon may not be fully aware of how drastically things have changed for those in the homebuying market. One realtor on TikTok shared a breakdown of the numbers, and it is eye-opening.

Watch this explainer from Freddie Smith:


Housing cost from 1995 vs 2019 vs 2023

Umm, yeah. It would take a truckload of avocado toast to even come close to making up for that increase. And these numbers are assuming you could even afford an $84,000 down payment. First-time homebuyers can often qualify for a 3% down loan, which makes it easier to get into the house but increases the monthly payment.

People in the comments commiserated, and many people asked what they were supposed to do in light of this reality. Some suggested buying land and putting a cheap mini-home on it until they had enough saved up to build a house. Others said to wait it out because the current market isn't sustainable and we may see a housing crash. (Though, as one commenter pointed out, "[In] 2019 we were told everything would crash but instead everything went up in record numbers.")

Some blamed the current administration, completely ignoring the global pandemic of the past three years that resulted in economic upheaval and ongoing fallout everywhere. The immediate housing market has always been somewhat unpredictable, and it's a crapshoot as to whether or not it's the best time to buy.

But when you can't even come close to affording it, it's a moot question anyway. Surely, something's got to give, but the question is what, when and how.

Smith has many, many videos showing the math behind the housing market. Follow him on TikTok for more.