Younger veterans helping to drive record-breaking housing market
PHOENIX — As the housing market continues to break records across the country, the number of veterans buying or refinancing loans through VA benefits is smashing records too, especially right here in the Valley.
“It was me, the wife, two kids, five dogs in an RV,” said Army Veteran Bobby Price with a chuckle.
Price is used to tight quarters. Serving overseas twice between 2008 and 2012. This time, it was to win the bidding war for his new house.
“We got really lucky with the house, it was a very rare situation, the seller wanted to rent the property back from us after we buy it for a couple months,” said Price.
He’d recently sold his first home and had lost three bids for a new one already.
He agreed to the seller’s lease back terms and won the home despite higher bids.
“They wanted three months and we told them no problem and it only ended up being a month and a half cause they ended up leaving early,” said Price.
Price knows how fortunate he is. Homeless as a child, it was his military service that made his home ownership dreams possible.
“Because of the veteran thing, we don’t have to have a down payment, that’s the reason I’m able to own a house,” said Price.
“They’ve served and sacrificed on our behalf and part of that service and sacrifice can mean giving up the chance to build credit and savings, and the VA loan program allows veterans to purchase without a down payment, without having pristine credit,” said Chris Birk, VP of mortgage insight at Veterans United Home Loans.
Birk says that’s why veterans tend to outpace the general population when it comes to home ownership.
On average 80% of vets own a home versus 63% for the rest of us. Millennial and Gen Z soldiers are now becoming the next major force in the market poised to smash records in 2021.
“Phoenix is actually the second biggest market in the country for overall VA loans and for VA refinance loans,” said Birk.
He says a recent survey of thousands of vets across the country reflected the data.
“About one in three veterans said they plan to buy a home this year, and nearly two-thirds expected to buy a home in the next five years,” said Birk.
Now settled into his new home, Price reflects on what it meant to serve and how it continues to shape his future.
“It sets you up for stuff like that, it sets you up to plan things more, to be more strategic, a lot of veterans don’t use the programs and stuff that we have, they need to,” said Price sternly.