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My Economy: Life as a millennial renter priced out of the housing market

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My Economy tells the story of the new economic normal through the eyes of people trying to make it, because we know the only numbers that really matter are the ones in your economy.

Much of the state of California is in the middle of a housing crunch. And a lot of the time, that means people aren’t able to purchase a home, despite having a job and a steady income.

Rent is too high and home values are keeping first time home buyers from getting into the market.

For today’s installment of our ongoing series, My Economy, a young woman living in Costa Mesa, California, shares her experience: 

My name is Victoria McQuarrie and I’m a newly-married working professional.

My husband Dan and I moved to Southern California about five years ago. We feel financially pretty fortunate right now. We both have degrees from a top 20 University. We’ve paid off all of our student loans, we both have strong incomes and we don’t have a lot of expenses — like kids.

I don’t think I even honestly calculate exactly how much of my income goes to rent, but it’s definitely over that 30 percent.

The housing market is so ridiculously expensive that we feel it’s absolutely impossible for us to buy a home.

My husband and I enjoy walking around our neighborhood and going to open houses, so we have seen this time and again: We took a look at a two bedroom, one bathroom bungalow, 1,200 square feet and it was listed at $1.2 million. It’s crazy.

I think owning a home — it’s kind of this American dream. And I’ve always dreamed of owning a home with a yard and being able to raise a family. And it would be nice to build equity in a property rather than just continue to pay rent in something every single month.

You know, I think a lot of people who are older than us see the entire millennial generation as one of those, you know, texting, spending all their money on Instagramming their $11 avocado toast at brunch. But a lot of us are working really hard and now feel like, because of the market, we can’t afford something that our parents took for granted they were going to be able to have, which was buying a home.

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