It's a good time for Santa Barbara millennial home buyers.

A positive new trend is developing in real estate right now. Millennials–those in their late 20s and early 30s–are finally starting to enter the real estate market. While young people have historically made up nearly 40% of first-time buyers, over the past decade that percentage has fallen sharply. However, there are several important changes that are making owning more attractive than renting for Santa Barbara millennial home buyers.

One issue is that rents keep rising. At a certain point, the costs of homeownership start to look like a better investment than the downsides of renting. After a while, being your own landlord and having the ability to change a home to your taste becomes more important.

Right now, mortgage rates are in the mid-3% range. The FHA has recently cut its prohibitively high mortgage insurance premiums. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have cut minimum down payments to 3% from 5%. Home prices are not climbing at the high rate they once were. Santa Barbara millennial home buyers are also discovering many assistance programs available to them through state and local agencies.

As a veteran Santa Barbara real estate agent, I am very heartened by this trend. Investing in a home is one of the best things young people can do to secure their financial future.