Counter to intuition, millennials (those between the ages of 18 and 34) are the next big real estate disruptors — not because they’re living in their parents’ basements but because they’re buying property.

According to a report from the National Association of Realtors, Americans under the age of 37 already represent the largest share of home buyers, at 36 percent. Not only are millennials buying homes, they’re more likely to buy investment properties. How much more likely? A report shows these millennial market mavens are 52 percent more likely than Generation Xers or Baby Boomers to buy multi-family properties.

These properties generate passive income and provide tangible assets. In addition, entrepreneurial spirit coupled with a sense of stability and autonomy gives millennials an alternative to more traditional economic investments like the stock market or Social Security that have uncertain futures.

“Over the past two decades, the real estate market has outperformed the stock market by a factor of nearly 2 to 1,” states

However, a barrier to real estate investment may be the traditional market structure when it comes to lending. Lower credit scores as a result of debt impact millennials’ ability to borrow. Debt — not just payments but the inability to pay more than the minimum payment due — may negatively impact the ability to save money. Without adequate savings for a down payment, buying power is decreased.

Technology may be the answer. With increases in online banking as well as digital real estate tools like Zillow and Trulia, real estate investment is less and less a local matter. Millennials are finding ways to enter hot markets from afar. Their doing so may in turn create additional job opportunities for property managers who are able to provide on-site support for tenants.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Charlotte saw a 53.1 percent owner-occupied housing unit rate from 2013-2017. The median value of owner-occupied housing units was $187,300. Median gross rent was $1,018. From 2010 to 2017, Charlotte grew by 16.8 percent from 731,424 to 859,035. Over the 2013-2017 period, almost 80 percent of persons age 1+ reported living in the same house as they were one year ago.

By Sarah Kucharski with Reference Credit to Luke Babich, Bigger Pockets