Millennials Making Extreme Sacrifices As Housing Costs Rise

More millennials are making extreme sacrifices in an era where borrowing costs are high, inventory is low, and housing prices are high, which isn’t a goal for the faint of heart.

Younger Americans who’ve consistently struggled indicate they’re up for the challenge, even if it requires living in a van or camper. Most millennials who do not own a home say they will make a drastic sacrifice to find more affordable housing.

To become homeowners, millennials say they’d be willing to buy a fixer-upper, move out of state, have roommates, live with family members, downsize their living space, or move farther away from family and friends.

“Housing used to be considered the path to creating the middle class. If housing is becoming exclusive, what supports the middle class in terms of wealth creation? That’s still an open question,” says Nela Richardson, chief economist at ADP.

The craze of tiny home living has become a trending topic on TikTok, with more than 2 billion views under the hashtag #vanlife and 6 million views under #tinyhomes on the app. Many videos feature singles or couples transforming vans, RVs, or even school buses into tiny homes.

Many TikTok accounts are dedicated to showing viewers how they optimize their small living spaces, especially during the crazy times of rising housing costs and unaffordable rent prices.

TikTok stars Courtnie Hamel and Nate Cotton have amassed over 2 million followers by documenting their van life journey over the past four years. The married couple uses their platform to show viewers recent projects and trips and to answer fan questions.

“We were sick of paying rent. We lived in Huntington Beach in Orange County, and our rent was super expensive, and we were getting by. We wanted a dog and couldn’t get one in our then apartment, and there were a lot of overall restrictions. We just wanted to get a place to make our own,” said Hamel.

According to a recent study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, many households in the United States are struggling to pay rent and keep a roof over their heads.

Rising housing costs in the country are not a new issue, but the drastic sacrifices shed light on the worsening situation for homeowners and renters. Experts are calling for action to address the rising housing costs and support families struggling to keep up with payments. Unless changes are made, the cycle of homelessness and financial strain is likely to continue.