Written by: Todd Shriber
Home ownership has long been framed as a foundational piece in the puzzle that, when assembled, represents the American dream.
However, home ownership is increasingly hard to attain, particularly for younger demographics, such as millennials. As experienced market participants know, real estate, including residential, is one of the most compelling inflation hedges. Historical data confirms as much. If the US median home price simply matched inflation since 1970, by some estimates, that figure would be about $178,000 today, not the actual number north of $408,000.
That’s great for those that were able to enter the housing market decades ago or during downturns, but it’s not good for younger buyers looking for starter homes.
While data confirm that roughly half of millennials now own homes, they arrived at home ownership later in life than baby boomers and Gen X’ers. Additionally, many millennials live in areas where housing demand and prices are high and supply is low. Austin, Denver and Silicon Valley are chief among such regions. I found one company called The True Life Companies, LLC that is doing its part to help younger buyers into the housing market.
The True Life Companies: Focusing on Home Ownership Attainability
In simple terms, here’s how the True Life Companies’ model works. The firm identifies an obsolete commercial property that has the potential to be efficiently turned into residential housing, typically townhomes or single-family homes.
From there a permitting process of two to three years follows and when that’s wrapped up, The True Life Companies sells the plans for the property to a homebuilder. The firm typically does not excavate land or handle vertical construction.
“We believe the American dream of home ownership is alive and well. We are really focusing our model on 25- to 39-year-olds,” said The True Life Companies Chairman and CEO Scott Clark. “There’s 68 million of them in America and we believe they deserve their shot at the American dream.”
One way of looking at this approach is that residential real estate prices, though not in linear fashion, historically appreciate over time. That appreciation prices some buyers – namely younger folks – out of the market. For too long, this problem hasn’t been addressed by the traditional financial services and real estate industries. The Trues Life Companies is doing something about this issue.
The True Life Companies Doesn’t Sacrifice Desirability or Location
The True Life Companies aims to repurpose commercial properties that have outlived their usefulness. That doesn’t mean those properties are in undesirable locations. Actually, the opposite is true. Some of The True Life Companies current featured properties are located across the Bay Area, Denver, San Antonio and Southern California – each of which can be credibly described as “desirable” home markets.
Clark highlighted an example in which The True Life Companies took control of a rundown industrial building in San Jose, located in an area that was zoned for residential use. The underlying entitlements were repurposed for 240 residential units and the plans were sold to a major U.S. homebuilder.
By removing some of the burdens of the approval process, The True Life Companies was able to pass savings onto the builder and in scenarios like that, the builder can pass savings along to buyers.
To learn more about The True Life Companies, please visit thetruelifecompanies.com
Related: The True Life Companies: Making the American Dream More Accessible