Whether you are a Millennial or you’re just interested in what factors are impacting today’s real estate market, this is a great read. Learn why Millennial homebuyers are unique, and what the real estate industry is doing to cater to this buying demographic that has the power to make the purchasing process easier for all generations. For years, news outlets have repeatedly expressed that members of the Millennial generation — loosely defined as those born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s — don’t seem as interested in homeownership as past generations. Some suggest general apathy as the cause, while others focus on the challenges Millenials face when it comes to buying a home – from high student loan balances to a shrinking number of available entry-level homes.
An improving economy seems to have turned the tide on this trend for the foreseeable future. According to a recent survey by Realtor.com, the majority of homes that change hands during 2017 will be purchased by first-time home buyers, and Millennials make up the largest demographic subset of this group. This can mean some significant and long-term changes in the way real estate is bought and sold throughout the U.S.
What Makes Millennial Homebuyers Different From Other Generations?
Every generation brings with it different approaches to age-old challenges, and Millennials are no exception. Neil Howe and William Strauss have identified some of the characteristics setting Millennials apart, including:
- A tendency toward group orientation and teamwork, making them more likely than others to search for homes that will accommodate multi-family or multi-generation living arrangements;
- Their experience with “over-scheduling” as children, which can sometimes continue to adulthood. Millennials with packed schedules or long workdays may desire smaller homes with less upkeep, even opting for xeriscaping in lieu of a traditional lawn;
- A love of freedom and flexibility, which can mean forgoing pre-scheduled real estate viewing appointments in lieu of more flexible open houses or even forgoing a real estate agent entirely.
Millennials’ love of freedom can extend into the types and locations of homes they browse, as well — rather than saving up for a McMansion with a 45-minute commute to work, many Millennials may instead opt for a similarly-priced (but much smaller) property in the heart of the city.
These young homeowners are also more likely to buy and flip or cycle through several “starter” homes quickly rather than holding out for a home that checks every single box on their list before making an offer.
What is the Real Estate Industry Doing to Appeal to Millennial Homebuyers?
In response to Millennials’ unique approach to their housing needs, the real estate industry has begun to make some changes. For example, home listing powerhouse Zillow recently announced the launch of a new website – succinctly named realestate.com – that is designed to help direct Millennial homebuyers (and sellers) to local real estate resources while also providing a one-stop shop for new listings.
Allowing users to communicate with real estate agents, read agent reviews, save home listings, and even map out various routes to work from a one-stop website or application appeals to both Millennials and the majority of Baby Boomers who rely on smartphones to accomplish a wide variety of tasks.