Millennials account for more than 32 percent of the US housing market. They are the largest generation to date and make up 68 percent of all first-time homebuyers. And now that the economy has improved a bit, that number will grow. So who are they?
A Millennial is a person who was born between 1980 and 2000. They have been labeled with characteristics alternating between cynicism and unyielding hopefulness, but they have also survived one heck of an economic recession.
Most Millennials entered college with big dreams and were told they could be whatever they wanted. Many are paying down student loan debt or finding themselves trying to master alternative careers. For them, the idea of ever owning a home nearly died. However, the uptick in the economy and the willingness of many Millennials to change their careers, has brought the goal of owning a home back.
The majority lean toward smaller, teched-out homes that are affordable with low to no maintenance required. Their top requests in order of importance are:
Above all, location reigns supreme. Millennials WORK. As in, work-all-the-time, available-24-7-365-and-proud-of-it, work. This is the generation to thank for working too much and then coming up with endless blogs talking about how they work too much. And yet that doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon. For those that still work away from home, location matters in terms of distance from work and their kids’ schools. They want an easy and quick commute. They care about things like parks, walkable neighborhoods, and safety, but at the end of the day it’s all about how close they can be to the office.
One of the first things you will see a Millennial do when they visit a property is check their phone. What they’re looking for is cell service, which can be a huge deciding factor for buyers. In addition, they want lots of outlets throughout the home. Today there are multiple devices and the ability to easily find an outlet and charge that device is important. Many Millennials also work from home, meaning high-speed and reliable Internet services are high priorities.
Millennials want an open concept house that can be multi-functional for the whole family. The ability to multi-task (for example, working from the kitchen counter while they keep an eye on the kids playing in the living room) is important to them.
It’s also easier to clean, organize, heat/cool, and set up for socializing. A study conducted by HousingWire found that 35 percent of Millennials want a home that’s single story—they don’t even have time for stairs.
For a generation scarred by a recession in the formative years of their adulthood, saving money is very important. They want homes that are energy-efficient (think windows and lighting) to keep utility bills low.
The drive for lower bills has fueled the desire for many Millennials to seek out smaller family homes. HousingWire reports that 52 percent only want two or more story home. Smaller is cheaper, lower-maintenance, and easier to equip with energy-efficient features throughout.
Low (or no) Maintenance Yards and Surfaces
This is not a market segment that wants a large yard with lots of weeding, mowing or watering. They don’t have time or money to spare. They also don’t want the property taxes that come with a large lot. For yards, think small. In drought affected regions, fake grass and rock-scaping are appealing.
What has been your experience with Millennial buyers? Tell us in the comments below!