First, they said it was avocado toast, then it was pumpkin spice lattes that were holding millennials back from buying homes. Now, the latest reason millennials aren’t buying homes? Houseplants.

A new report in looks at the expensive millennial habit of sprucing up rental spaces by being a “plant parent,” highlighting the millions that the age group spends a year on various types of indoor greenery, like potted trees, trailing vines and Instagram-friendly succulents.

One individual had already spent a total of $1,500 on about 30 plants and was looking for ways to cut costs, cutting out coffee shops and cooking at home more often — not to save up for a downpayment, but to save up for a $250 cactus.

The report cites a study from the 2019 National Gardening Association that found millennials account for a quarter of the $48 billion spent annually on lawn and garden products, despite having a lower household income than older generations.

In actuality, millennial spending habits have a lot less to do with being able to afford a home, when compared to record levels of student and personal debt.

The rise in student debt – which more than doubled from 2005 to 2014 – resulted in 400,000 fewer young people owning a home, according to a study published last year by the Federal Reserve.

The homeownership rate for individuals between 24 and 32 years old in 2005 has declined 9 percent overall in the last decade, from 45 percent to 36 percent, with slightly more than 20 percent of that decline attributed to rising student debt.

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Email Patrick Kearns

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