Babies push homeowners into cheaper housing markets

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Having children not only forces people to buy a home, but to find a more affordable home, according to Zillow and Census data.

Family growth is one of the strongest factors in home buying, with fledgling parents needing more space and focusing on new and different priorities. On top of being a major life change, a new baby brings a myriad of added expenses as homebuyers look to cheaper markets when house hunting.

"Having a baby dramatically changes your life and can radically change your idea of the ideal home. Maybe you need more space both indoors or out, maybe you need to save somewhere, anywhere, to make up for the additional cost of childcare," Skylar Olsen, Zillow's director of economic research and outreach, said in a press release.

Overall, those who moved with a new baby in the past year had a median change in home value of $11,500. Changes in value were much more drastic in moves from typically expensive metro areas. Los Angeles topped the list at $165,800, followed by San Jose at $138,100 and San Francisco at $129,000.

"Our analysis shows that whatever the motivation, many families are making parenthood financially easier by moving to more affordable markets. Moving can be a stressful process, especially for new parents, but the benefits of their new home — financial or otherwise — may well outweigh that stress," Olsen said.

While birth rates are declining overall, the largest declines are in counties where home value growth is the highest. Though having kids can be the impetus for buying a more affordable home, this data suggests high home prices can affect the decision to have kids in the first place.

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Purchase Home prices Housing market Zillow Census Bureau