Photo: Robert Clark
Millennials have been noticeably absent from the US market. Many in the generational group have been sidelined due to weighty financial burdens and rising home prices, the national homeownership rate has fallen to a historic low in recent years.
Millennials are beginning to enter the marketplace in larger numbers as marriage and kids begin to become a reality for them, and that might be just the adrenaline shot the market needs.
But if you think you know everything there is to know about Millennial homebuyers, you’d be wrong. According to the mortgage firm Nationwide Mortgages, here are 10 stats you may not know:
1. Millennials are the largest group of homebuyers
Not only do Millennials make up 34 percent of all US homebuyers, they constitute a whopping 66 percent of all first-time buyers. Millennials are a force to be reckoned with in the housing marketplace. And, as more younger Millennials “age up,” even more will soon be on the way.
2. Homeownership is a part of the American Dream for Millennials
A major part of the often elusive “American Dream” is owning a home, and that dream is shared more by Millennials than any previous generation — over 65 percent of Millennials associate homeownership with the American Dream. But having a dream, and affording one are two very different things. Student loans, rising home costs, and slow wage growth have been turning this Millennial dream into a nightmare.
3. More Millennials want to buy in under 5 years time
Although Millennials are setting their sights and selfies on buying a home, they’re not necessarily banging down their realtor’s door to make their move. Less than 10 percent of Millennials plan to buy within the next year, and nearly a third plan to do so within the next three to five years. Slightly less than two percent said they were never buying, so either they’re digging their heels into mom and dad’s basement or planning on renting until their golden years.
4. Millennials are far more likely to shop for a home online
With the“retail apocalypse” descending upon the country, and more retailers closing up their storefronts because of the popularity of online shopping, clearly Millennials know how to shop online for their “stuff.” But, nearly 100 percent also shopped for a home online as well, compared with only 77 percent of The Silent Generation.
5. Most Millennials will visit a home after viewing it on a smartphone
Millennials are more likely to browse on their smartphones than previous generations to browse for homes. Some 58 percent use their smartphone to view listings, compared to 46 percent of Gen Xers and 33 percent of older Baby Boomers.
6. Millennials are attracted to professional looking listings
For a generation often pegged as the “selfie generation,” it is completely logical to assume Millennials would be drawn to ads with professional-looking photos. And they are — some 76 percent did a drive-by of a home they viewed in a listing with professional-caliber photos. Nearly two-thirds did a physical walk-through of a home after viewing an online listing.
7. Millennials prefer new construction over resale
Nearly half of all Millennial homebuyers want new construction homes to avoid costly renovations or deal with heating or electrical issues. But since new construction homes in many hot markets like New York City and Seattle come with higher price tags, Millennials are often “priced out” of this sub-market.
8. Millennials are more likely to move sooner
More than any other generation, Millennials are less tied down to their home. Just over 10 percent say that homeownership is permanent, compared to 23 percent and 29 percent of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, respectively. And almost 70 percent of Millennials view homeownership as a stepping stone from one home to the one they really want. Millennials will stay in a home an average of six years — four years less than the average of all other buyers.
9. The amenities Millennials can’t live without
Millennials are very specific about what they want in their future home. A large kitchen is on the top of the list, and 46 percent say they want a “luxury” kitchen. Eco-friendly is another top feature. Some 46 percent of Millennials say they want a home with solar power. And, since coming up with the money for a downpayment is challenging enough, over 70 percent of Millennial homebuyers want their home to have brand new appliances.
10. Most Millennials are not urban dwellers
More Millennials are flocking to the suburbs. Only about 25 percent live in urban areas, and half live in suburban communities. In fact, 80 percent of Millennials live outside an “urban core” entirely. Living closer to their jobs is more important, shockingly enough. Proximity to work is the most important factor to most Millennials in choosing a neighborhood.