It’s almost catchy at this point, and the phrase is widespread enough that it’s begun to populate memes. It seems that millennials have become the world’s punching bag with an unnecessary level of criticism pointed at this generation. However, when it comes to real estate, millennials are no laughing matter. They currently have an incredible amount of leverage in the industry. According to NAR, younger millennials have the largest share of homeownership at 37%. In fact, they’ve had the largest share for seven years since the report first recognized its percentage in 2014. Their sheer size is certainly impacting the industry, but millennials are purchasing homes in different processes with unique trends as well.
Millennials operate on a different home buying timeline than other generations
Previous home buying generations had several things going for them at the age of millennials: higher incomes, more accumulated assets and a lot less time spent living with mom and dad. Actually, Bloomberg reports that 2020 was the first year in history that the number of U.S. households declined. They’re not starting families as early as Boomers or Gen Xers, which is shifting the home buying timeline for real estate professionals.
Tech is second nature to millennials
Depending on the age of millennials, some don’t remember life without smartphones. In a sense, they’ve been raised around tech, which changes the role of technology in their real estate experience. For older generations, they had to tap into the expertise of real estate professionals regarding the listed homes, the market, competitive prices, appraisals and more. Today, all millennials have to do is reach for their phone or laptop.
Tech has infused itself into our lives so significantly that all home buying generations begin their home buying search online — not just 20 and 30-year-olds. This has real repercussions for agents and brokers as well because clients of this generation expect tech expertise. In an industry which is slow to adopt emerging technology, it will be important to utilize digital tools and data as millennials become the dominant home buyers.
Millennials are optimistic and driving home prices
We don’t need a survey to tell us that it’s a good time to sell in this environment. Prices are high, inventory is low — what more could a seller want to bring a solid offer to fruition? On the flip side, millennials are the most optimistic generation about the housing market believing the market will remain strong during the next year. In May, Inman reported in May 2021 that national home prices had their largest jump in 15 years largely due to first home-buying millennials. Millennials are eager and optimistic, playing an important role in the housing boom.
Millennials find huge value in the support offered by real estate professionals
Back to the 2021 NAR Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends, different generations clearly have different reasons for working with real estate professionals. While it’s fairly obvious that each generation needs help in finding the right home to purchase, millennials need support and help in navigating the home purchase process and the vast amount of paperwork that comes with it. Similarly, homebuyers under 30 years old rely heavily on referrals from friends, neighbors, family, etc. The connection here is that millennials are looking for real estate professionals that are supportive and trustworthy.
Even though millennials have the majority share of homeownership, something to keep in mind is that this generation is waiting longer than ever to purchase a home. This means that there is still a large portion of millennials out there who are waiting to buy at a higher age in the future. What does this mean for real estate professionals? The millennial homeownership share percentage will only increase as this generation makes the move to purchase. With that said, consider how first-time home buyers in this generation, even if they’re in their 30s, probably don’t have much real estate experience. They’re looking for a supportive professional who can make their experience a breeze. A real estate brokerage should absolutely capitalize on this messaging as they attempt to market to homebuyers in the millennial generation.
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