'I'm 32 and Living With My Parents—Why Can't I Buy a Home?'

I was basically forced out of my townhome in December last year because my old roommate didn't pay rent for three months so we had to leave.

With just 10 days' notice, I had to move out and back in with my parents. Getting evicted was a pretty traumatic experience. I'm just very lucky to have my parents to support me.

This was always going to be my last renting year. I had already decided that I would try to buy a house, and then that happened. Rental prices are basically the same as the cost of owning a home. I remember thinking: This is kind of stupid. I'll just save up and buy a house.

hands grabbing at house
House price inflation in urban areas is shutting more and more young people out of the property market. iStock

I had another friend that just bought a home nearby two months prior, so I felt positive. My best friend is my realtor. Perfect, I thought. You'll work with me.

During the time we looked, starting in January, the interest rates just kept rising, but home prices weren't going down. Rates were about four percent and now it's all the way up to five-and-a-half percent, which is a huge jump. It means my mortgage payments would jump from around $2200 to like $2800. That's just not going to work.

I'm trying to buy in an area of Philadelphia that's very hot right now. It's popular with people that are either from New York or older and want to buy homes to rent them out.

I want to be in a certain area, but so does everybody else. That means I'm either seeing something I could afford that is in a dangerous part of the city so I wouldn't feel safe living there, or it's in a place that is just not affordable for me.

I have a full-time job as a customer success manager for a cybersecurity company. I also run a side business, which is an all-star cheerleading program. So with two full-time incomes, zero debt, and an excellent credit score, there's no reason why this shouldn't be working.

And yet it isn't.

Between the interest rates and high home prices, there's no good option. Even if we wanted to buy something to rehab it, what we're seeing is still not cheap enough. Plus, you have supply chain and material cost issues, so rehab isn't an affordable option for us either.

In March last year, I bid on a house that I had seen before anyone else. I put in an offer to buy the next day, but the seller went ahead with an open house instead.

There were five other, higher offers. Out of those, I'm sure there are cash buyers. I'm sure there are investors. I'm just your average person, so I can't really compete with that and I'm not going to.

After that, I decided to take a break, because it seemed like I was trying to make something work that isn't.

This situation is pricing out your average 30-something professional. It's such a seller's market. By the time you look at a home, it's gone or under contract, or there are five offers. I'm just like: I'm out. I'm not playing this game.

I'm in a very lucky situation. I don't have to move. I want to. I can stay with my parents, so I have time.

Living rent-free, and bill-free means I can focus on saving more for that moment when I can buy the house. I can just save even more to put down, or for closing costs, or whatever it may be, when the time is right.

But it's still extremely frustrating. It's extremely discouraging, most of all, to have done everything right, so to speak. You have a good, stable job. Two jobs, in fact. You make a solid income. You've kept your credit clean. You have some cash—I've got about 5 percent to put down.

And you just want a little home. Your piece of that American dream.

Philadelphia skyline at sunset from City Hall
The Philadelphia skyline at sunset as seen from the observation deck at City Hall. MarkMakela/Corbis via Getty Images

I'm not asking for a huge house or anything crazy, but I want something that's comfortable, worth the right price, and that isn't going to slaughter my monthly budget. Just to be able to live in a home. And it seems very far away.

You see other people that maybe don't have all those boxes ticked, but they have a house. I end up thinking: Why is this goalpost just moving further down for me? When am I going to get that?

I just didn't expect it to be so expensive and so hard. How am I still not there? And if I'm not there yet, that means there's a ton of other people that are like me, too, that also can't get their life started.

At 32, it just stunts everybody's progress; for families, for the future, for building wealth. Everything is just stunted.

Our generation got stunted by the 2008 recession. There were no jobs when we came out of college. Things got better—then we got pushed back down the mountain.

We can't make any progress.

My dad's a real estate developer and has worked in the business for 30 years. He has all the resources in the world mortgage-wise and it's still just not working.

He helps with advice. With properties, he and my mom can point out anything that would be a red flag. They can tell me if it is the right price, or a good deal, or suggest the kind of negotiation we should do. It's educated me that this has to break somehow and it may be best just to wait it out.

If it continues this way, I'm never getting out of my parents' house. Or, I will have to move out of state. But I don't necessarily know who to blame. I blame a series of events. COVID helped hype up prices and low interest rates created a feeding frenzy in the market.

The government needs to regulate the housing market so it's a regular, average market. Right now, it's so swung one way. If it swings so much the other way, then people that bought homes are probably going to foreclose. Then we're in the next round of problems. It just needs to be regulated.

And inflation needs to be fixed. It's strangling families. I see it in my work with kids and their families. I see it just strangling them. If my budget is getting tighter and I'm only one person, I can't even imagine what it is like for a family of four. This trickles down to everything else. Nobody's buying extras or going out to eat. Nobody's doing those things. God forbid if I needed a car. That's a whole other problem.

I wish more than anything we could go back to this time in 2020. When gas was and food prices were cheap. Everything was affordable. You could just move. Then everything got progressively tighter as time went on. It's very uncomfortable to live in the U.S. right now.

I don't have a plan B if the housing market does not correct itself somehow in the next 12 months. And I know it's not just me. It's also other people that want to move out of the city or start a family in the suburbs. I feel worse for them. That's hard. You have a group of people that are supposed to contribute to the economy, like mine, young professionals, and they have young kids. If you stunt them, it'll throw everything else off.

I would really like to see Joe Biden and whoever else correct this economy so it's humming for the average American family. Because it's not. I feel like our leaders on both political sides are so elitist that they don't even understand that someone like me is struggling with this. It's out of their realm of comprehension that this is not something that someone like me could do on my own. That's the reality.

The amount of money I pay in taxes is absurd for an average person that makes a decent amount of living. When inflation is so high you just can't do anything.

I've accepted my current situation for the short term, but I just didn't ever think buying a home would be something I couldn't do when I wanted to. It feels so out of my control.

Living with my parents is definitely not what I ever thought I would be doing at this point in my life.

Becca Fink has lived in Philadelphia for the past four years and is originally from South Jersey. She is a customer success manager for a cybersecurity company and also runs a competitive all-star cheerleading program.

All views expressed in this article are the author's own.

As told to Shane Croucher.