By Michigan State Housing Development Authority

The ‘American Dream’ is unique in its vision of achieving success through hard work and determination –the belief that anyone can have a good life, defined by a stable family, a caring community and financial success, if they do their part and contribute to society.

In 2023, the dream feels more like a lofty goal to Millennials who make up a large portion of the homebuying market, and Gen Z, who are entering the workforce. For instance, 50% of early millennials born in the 1980s owned their homes by 35, which is much lower than when baby boomers were the same age (70%).

Housing has become less accessible and affordable for a greater number of people due to low housing stock and rising costs nationwide. Safe and adequate housing has never been more important – and remains at the forefront of state programs aimed at helping people achieve their goals.

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) has laid the foundation for these programs to thrive and reach as many Michigan residents as possible, including the creation and implementation of the Statewide Housing Plan. The plan outlines strategies and programs to make housing more accessible by engaging with community leaders, housing developers and residents around the state – with the goal of increasing the supply of homes and dismantling barriers of entry.

Generational Differences in Homebuying Habits

The goal of homeownership has evolved over time – coinciding with the shift in attitudes and values of younger generations, along with financial hurdles for them to overcome.

For many, mostly millennials, owning or renting a home in and around urban areas felt like a great way to stay connected with cultural centers and to be closer to where they worked. However, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the perspective for many young families who were looking for more space or a change of pace, they began to flock to suburban and rural areas thanks to the advent of remote work.

Millennials and Gen Z are at more of a financial disadvantage than their older counterparts. For instance, Millennials have 6.6% of the country’s wealth, which is much less than Baby Boomers (50.4%) and Gen Xers (29.9%). This lack of funds, combined with outside forces like inflation, has put home buyers in a position where they may not be able to afford a home.

Shifting priorities and new barriers to entry have distilled the vision of the white picket fence and manicured lawn down to its most basic element: the demand for safe and affordable housing.

Affordable Housing as an Essential Right

Everyone, no matter their level of income or amount of wealth, has the right to safe and affordable housing defined by a cost effective, reliable place to call home. Younger homeowners and potential buyers deserve the ability to secure stable housing and if they are struggling, they can take advantage of state and local programs to do so.

MSHDA offers programs and services, including the MI 10K DPA loan and Housing Education Program, to help lower the barriers of entry to homeownership and help low to middle income families and achieve their goals of securing a place they can call home.

MSHDA’s Statewide Housing Plan shares valuable data and information on how the organization is working across the state to increase the supply of affordable homes and ensure a better future for the next generation of home buyers. For more information on MSHDA programs, please visit