Millennials are said to be a generation of people with commitment issues and crippling debt. For some time now, there’s been an ongoing debate about Millennials as homeowners. Do Millennials want to buy homes? Are Millennials buying homes? Is the housing market easily accessible to Millennials? Well, contrary to what seems to be the popular opinion, Millennials are expressing a desire to become homeowners. As a matter of fact, Millennials currently make up approximately 35 percent of the U.S. housing market. That’s right – nearly a third of the housing market is made up of Millennials alone.
With this in mind, why are people still saying Millennials don’t want to or can’t buy homes? Likely because the challenges they face in the market are more evident than those among other generations. It’s not that Millennials don’t want to be homeowners, it’s just that they often have to work harder at finding a home they can afford.
The challenges facing Millennials in the housing market
The economy poses many challenges for Millennials as first-time homebuyers. Some of the biggest obstacles Millennials have to face when buying a home are:
- Insufficient credit history
- Affording the downpayment or closing costs
- Insufficient income
- Too much existing debt
With that being said, Millennials are still one of the largest groups of homebuyers. Even though a good portion of Millennials watched their parents struggle through the housing crisis of the last decade, they’re still motivated to buy homes, while being a bit more cautious. College tuition is more expensive nowadays, and with Millennials choosing education as a priority, student loans are often a major setback when it comes to homeownership. As such, Millennials tend to wait a little longer than older generations did to buy a home so they can afford the downpayment and closing fees.
What are Millennials looking for in a home?
As a result, Millennials are not a generation that makes hasty decisions. Since most Millennials are finding they have to wait longer to buy, they have the opportunity to really decide what they’re looking for in their new home. In a home, Millennials are specifically looking for:
- A separate laundry room
- Exterior lighting
- Master bathroom with a shower and tub
- Ceiling fans
- Energy-efficient appliances
- Hardwood floors
- A patio
- A front porch
- A deck
Like anyone else, Millennials find having control of what to do with their own space appealing. Additionally, the majority of Millennials consider owning their own home to be a more sensible choice than renting for both financial and lifestyle reasons. Millennials are also a generation of free spirits, so the idea of having flexibility in future decisions by buying a home is also important to them.
Believe it or not, though, the main reason millennials are buying homes is for their dogs. Yes, you read that right. A recent survey by SunTrust Mortgage found that one third of Millennials who had already bought their first house said one of the main reasons was to have more space for their furry friend. In fact, dogs ranked among the top three motivators for first-time home buyers. Marriage, an unexpected child, more living space, and the opportunity to build equity were also amongst the top motivators. Among Millennials who have yet to purchase a home, almost half say that their dog, or their desire to have a dog, is a key factor in their determination to buy a home in the near future.
So, while many people believe Millennials are bumming around in their parents’ basement, it’s quite the opposite. While it might take them longer and force them to work harder, Millennials are more determined than ever to become homeowners. Millennials are taking their enthusiasm and energy and investing it into finding a home for themselves – and their dogs.
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