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Experts differ on whether millennials plan to buy a home

PHOENIX -- Two surveys are giving different predictions over whether Arizona millennials plan to buy a home here anytime soon.

A new BMO Harris Bank study says that 8 in 10 Arizonans between the ages of 18 and 34 plan to buy a house in the next five years.

"They must have confidence that either 'I'm going to have a stable job' or that they're going to be able to save funds over a longer term," said Tony Cesarana, a mortgage banker for BMO Harris.

But ASU School of Real Estate Director Michael Orr disagrees.

ASU released a study last week that said Valley home prices would not rise much for the rest of the year. It claimed that there was lower demand for houses, partly because millennials are not interested in buying them.

"The majority of millennials are putting homebuying off until later," said Orr. "They're putting a number of things off in life: They're getting married later, they're having children later. Buying a home is another thing that they're doing later. The majority of them are renting and planning to do it for quite some time. They've kind of been inoculated against home ownership because of the foreclosure crisis."

Cesarano agrees with Orr -- for the short term.

"Short-term wise, they may not have the confidence because of student debt or other things that may have them pause in terms of home ownership," Cesarano said. "But long-term, they feel confident over the next five years that they would be in a position to purchase a home, which is great."

The BMO survey says that few people over the age of 55 plan to buy. It says only 5 percent plan to buy one this year and only 23 percent over the next five years. Cesarano said it may be because they've already been in their homes for a long time and intend to stay there.

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About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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