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How Millennial Homebuyers Approach the Housing Market

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A recent survey finds that although millennials homebuyers appear to be following in their predecessors’ footsteps in buying a home, they have very different values, expectations and methods.

Clever Real Estate, a network that connects home buyers and sellers with agents, commissioned Pollfish to conduct an online survey on Dec. 28 of 1,000 Americans who indicated that they intended to buy a home within the next year, 51% of whom were millennials.

Eight in 10 millennials in the survey were first-time homebuyers, and the vast majority favored online listing services, such as Zillow, Redfin and Trulia. At the same time, 82% wanted help from a real estate agent early in the buying process, and their most important criterion in selecting one was trustworthiness.

In doing their research, 63% of millennials said their phone was their main tool, compared with 55% of Gen Xers and 24% of baby boomers.

For millennials respondents, safe neighborhoods and good schools were key location considerations, much more so than for older buyers — not surprising, given that many were starting families. Of much less concern to younger buyers was commute time, walking distance to bars and restaurants, and proximity to family and friends.

Two-thirds of millennials said they would be willing to put in an offer on a fixer-upper in need of major repairs.

Thirty-six percent of millennials said the biggest barrier to their entering the housing market was saving for a down payment, followed by 22% who said homes were too expensive. Yet, 86% believed that homeownership was part of the American Dream.

A study last year by Zillow found that it takes the typical American homebuyer seven years to save the benchmark 20% for a down payment on a typical-valued home.

According to the Clever survey, many millennials are reluctant to make offers on homes. Thirty-seven percent of shoppers in the survey said they had not put in an offer over the past year.

Clever noted that this may have to do with entry barriers, or as first-time shoppers, millennials may lack the experience and confidence to begin the process if they are not working with an agent.

Other findings on millennial homebuyers:

  • 58% of respondents were white, and 8% African-American
  • 20% were living with a partner but not married, more than any other generation
  • Millennials were twice as likely as Gen Xers and boomers to buy a multifamily dwelling, seeing the property as an investment.


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