Study finds fewer babies are produced in areas with a hot housing market

A new study by real estate website Zillow found that hotter housing markets produce fewer babies.

It’s no secret more and more millennials are delaying parenthood for a variety of reasons. Now you can add rising home costs to the list, according to Zillow Economist Sarah Mikhitarian.

“The Bay Area is really expensive and home prices have grown really quickly over the past several years and continue to do so,” Mikhitarian said. “Having that home and having that financial stability in order to have a baby is really challenging in those areas.”

Zillow’s research looked at birth rates for women ages 25 to 29 and the change in home prices from 2010 to 2016. In San Francisco, they found home values rose 61 percent while the birth rate dropped 22 percent. In Alameda County, home values rose 60 percent while the birth rate fell 24 percent. In Santa Clara County, home values rose 58 percent while the birth rate fell 20 percent.

Fertility specialist, Dr. Aimee Eyvazzadeh based in the San Francisco Bay Area, said she is not surprised by the association of housing costs and low birth rates.

“Patients are telling, Aimee I'm waiting to save up for a down payment before I do my IVF cycle,” she said. “It's a real thing especially in the Bay Area and I'm seeing a lot patients move out of the state and get treatment elsewhere because they can afford everything. They can afford the treatment they want and the size home that they want.”

Zillow said their research does not suggest rising house prices alone are causing falling birth rates, but they said the housing market is likely a contributing factor.

“Nationally we're noticing fertility rates for all women, not just between ages 25 to 29, has been falling since 2007,” Mikhitarian added.

While some might put off major milestones for owning home, Dr. Eyvazzadeh said it just takes love to have a baby.

“Waiting for things that are materialistic, it's not worth it because you might be waiting too long,” she said. “Your fertility is so precious. It's the most precious commodity and you cannot take it for granted.”