A guide to the 2017 buyer: Millennials

by Chip Bell


At the turn of every new year, a question that always picks at any real estate professional’s mind is “What does this year’s buyer look like?”

The question is particularly important in 2017 because we’re starting it off by inaugurating a new president – one whose administration promises to be, for better or worse, decidedly different from his predecessors’.

In a recent survey, realtor.com attempted to gauge the buying market to better understand what is driving demand, what buyers are looking for in a home, where they are looking and myriad other considerations that go into making that ultimate purchase. And then they organized their results by generation (i.e., Millennials, Generation X, Generation Jones, Baby Boomers and The Silent Generation).

Millennials to start forming households

Over the next several days, we’ll be going through the results. First up: Millennials.

As our comprehensive table, seen below, illustrates, Millennial buyers are finally getting to the point of household formation, which puts family as a top priority. You can see it in their home preferences (i.e., safer neighborhoods, larger yards) location preferences (i.e., inner and outer suburbs), and their motivations for buying (i.e., getting married and increasing their family size).

It looks like over the next 12 months, real estate professionals should expect a wave of Millennial buyers to start exploring home ownership. However, it should be noted that because of the generation’s penchant for planning and widespread financial hardships, buying will be an extended process – most (26 percent) don’t expect to buy until near the end of the year.

Goals of Buying

Millennials (25-34)
Family 16.25
Financial investment 13.59
Privacy 13.56
Stability 12.28
Physical Comforts 10.56
*Based on a 100-point scale

Motivations for Buying

Millennials (25-34)
Getting married/moving in with partner 29%
Planning an increase in family size 29%
Tired of current home 29%
Increase in family size 22%
Desire to live closer to good schools 20%

Time Frame for Purchases

Millennials (25-34)
10-12 months 26%
4-6 months 24%
1-3 months 18%
7-9 months 16%

Most Preferred Purchases

Millennials (25-34)
Safer neighborhood 10.323
Larger yard 7.387
Proximity to good schools 7.387
Quality of construction 7.323
Ability to customize the home 7.29
*Based on a 100-point scale

Location Preference

Millennials (25-34)
Suburbs (closer to urban core) 28%
Outlying suburbs 22%
No preference 17%
Rural area 11%
Urban area 11%
Small town 11%

Property Type Preference

Millennials (25-34)
Single-family home 39%
Townhouse/Rowhouse 34%
Multifamily 15%
Condo/apartment 10%
Mobile 2%

Impediments to Purchase

Millennials (25-34)
Just starting to explore 39%
Can’t afford downpayment 32%
Haven’t found a house that meets needs 30%
Can’t find home in budget 30%
Bad credit score 22%

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