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Federal Interest Rate Hikes Delaying Millennial Home-Buying

Nearly half (42 percent) of millennials (ages 18 to 34) are delaying buying a home because of the December 2016 interest rate hike, according to a TransUnion® (NYSE: TRU) survey released today. The Federal Reserve announced a second rate increase in March 2017, which could impel even more millennials to do the same.

Federal interest rates typically serve as a benchmark for private lenders’ interest rates. As a result, new home-buyers will likely face higher mortgage rates than before the December increase. Most millennials reported that they had heard about the December rate hike, and a majority of them said the increase did, in some way, affect their decision to purchase.

Heather Battison, Vice President of TransUnion
Good credit is vital when shopping for a mortgage. Lenders rely on credit to assess borrowers’ riskiness and determine appropriate rates and terms for their loan. By keeping their credit strong and healthy, borrowers can position themselves for the best lowest possible rates and best possible terms.
Heather Battison, Vice President of TransUnion

Even though credit is an integral part of the home-buying process, millennials are more concerned with the superficial aspects. TransUnion’s survey showed millennials are most concerned about how they will fund home improvements (69 percent) or deal with maintenance upon move-in (67 percent), despite the fact a high incidence of subprime credit (VantageScore range 300-600) may be the biggest hurdle for these young home-buyers.

More than 38 percent of millennials currently have subprime credit, according to TransUnion’s proprietary consumer credit database. Only 27 percent of people nationally – across generations – currently carry subprime credit, and more than a third of those are millennials.

To help consumers of all ages build their credit score in preparation for buying a home, Battison offers the following home-buying resources:

  • Check your credit early: Only 54 percent of millennials who plan to buy a home in the next 11 months have checked their credit report in the past six months. However, TransUnion recommends all home-buyers check three to six months before shopping for a home to allow time to build credit if needed.
  • Talk to your landlord: Millennials who need to build their credit in order to transition from a home renter to owner should talk to their landlord to have their existing rent payments reported to TransUnion and other credit bureaus. Rent is often the biggest monthly expenditure and demonstrates positive payment history to lenders.
  • Get pre-approved: Knowing the loan size a financial institution is willing to approve can prevent people from falling in love with homes they can’t afford. Keep in mind that a pre-approval is just that: it’s not the final loan.
  • Have a contingency budget: There are a lot of financial unknowns when buying a home so it’s important for home-buyers to have money set aside for any surprises upon move-in.
  • Lock out fraud: Protect against fraudulent credit activity – which could negatively impact a credit score – with TransUnion’s Credit Lock. Offered as part of TransUnion’s credit monitoring service, Credit Lock allows users to lock their TransUnion credit directly from a phone or online.

For more information, visit TransUnion’s website.

For more information about TransUnion’s Credit Monitoring, please visit:

About the Survey

The online survey includes responses from 1,283 U.S. consumers, ages 18 and older. The survey was conducted from February 15 to February 17, 2017.

About TransUnion’s Proprietary Data

TransUnion’s proprietary data queries are pulled from its database of hundreds of millions of credit-active consumers. The information in this report is based on a December 2016 analysis of the credit and debt behaviors of a random sample of 15 million consumers in that database. TransUnion categorizes the age groups as follows: millennials (18 –36), generation X (37 – 51), baby boomers (52 – 70) and silent generation (70+).

About TransUnion (NYSE:TRU)

Information is a powerful thing. At TransUnion, we realize that. We are dedicated to finding innovative ways information can be used to help individuals make better and smarter decisions. We help uncover unique stories, trends and insights behind each data point, using historical information as well as alternative data sources. This allows a variety of markets and businesses to better manage risk and consumers to better manage their credit, personal information and identity. Today, TransUnion has a global presence in more than 30 countries and a leading presence in several international markets across North America, Africa, Latin America and Asia. Through the power of information, TransUnion is working to build stronger economies and families and safer communities worldwide.

We call this Information for GoodSM.