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Most American homebuyers are looking for a single family home in both affordable and safe neighborhoods. But how they are searching for their homes has changed considerably with emerging technology and the availability of smartphone apps.

Moreover, Millennials could be having a greater impact on the homebuying process than previously thought, according to the results of a comprehensive new survey conducted by online real estate database Zillow.

Zillow calls the survey “the largest and most comprehensive of real estate consumers ever conducted.” It surveyed more than 13,000 Americans, aged 18 to 75, about their homes. Survey topics included how they searched for their homes, paid for them, maintained and improved them, and what frustrations and aspirations affected their decisions.

According to the survey, the typical US homebuyer is 36 years old or younger, college educated and looking for a single family home. They have a median annual household income of $87,500. Their top homebuying concerns are affordability and safe neighborhoods and nearly 70 percent are married.

Almost half of all homebuyers surveyed were first time homebuyers. And while searching for a home, 52 percent of surveyors said they considered renting. Additionally, only 46 percent of homebuyers purchased the first home they made an offer on.

Zillow says this demonstrates “that in today’s fast-moving market, disappointment and competition are now part of the process.”

According to Zillow’s data, Millennials comprised a formidable 42 percent of all homebuyers surveyed — the largest percentage of any generation in the survey. Zillow characterizes the Millennial homebuyer as “financially savvy” and “cautious.”

Although Millennial homebuyers have typically waited longer to buy their first home than previous generations, they tend to look for similar amenities and “shared sense of community” as previous generations.

Millennial homebuyers who grew up during the digital age were often less “traditional” when searching for a home. They were more likely to begin their home search online than previous generations of homebuyers. Ninety percent of Millennials use the internet to help with the process of buying a home and eighty percent use smartphones or apps.

More than half of all first time homebuyers respondents were Millennials. They tend to “use more resources to educate themselves and research agents and lending professionals more than any other generation.” Millennials were also overwhelming more likely to seek out the advice of friends and family, and other trusted social outlets.

“These young adults came of age during a recession, but they are buying their first homes in a high-priced and fast-paced market. They’re using every available resource, including online research and real estate professionals, and taking on the challenge with gusto,” said Dr. Svenja Gudell, Zillow Chief Economist, in a press release.

Gudell added the data confirmed that the Millennial generation was playing “an increasingly large role in the housing market.”

To read the entire Zillow Housing Trends report, click here.

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