- Millennials tend to carry a heavier debt load than the average home buyer.
- In general, millennials are looking for great locations, technology enhancements, lots of space, and more.
Home buying can be a challenge for anyone, but many millennials face the extra hurdle of a tight budget.
Pew Research considers anyone born between 1981 and 1996 to be a millennial, and the U.S. Census Bureau defines the generation as anyone born between 1982 and 2000. Either way, one thing is sure: Millennials are driving the current housing market. Whether you're selling your home or considering buying a home for the first time, we thought it would be nice to know what buyers of this generation are looking for in a new home. Here's what we found.
1. Great location
To understand why location is so important to millennials, it helps to understand who they are. Millennials make up the largest demographic in the U.S. Plus, according to Pew Research Center, they are better educated than any generation that has come before. And millennials tend to be technology-savvy and less likely to be married or have children. In general, they're more likely to carry debt than other generations.
Millennials -- particularly those who do have children -- are drawn to spacious, affordable homes in the suburbs. While they want access to public transportation, they're also looking for things that will benefit their young families (including pets), like parks, jogging trails, and highly rated public schools.
2. Smart home technology
Most millennials grew up with technology and, as adults, want a home with smart features like Nest thermostats, smart locks, home security (with video surveillance), and automatic lighting. They want to control things like their heating and cooling system and appliances from an app.
So when millennials are figuring out how much home they can afford, it's a good idea to take into consideration all the expenses they might have, on top of a monthly mortgage payment.
3. Convenient laundry room
Many millennial buyers ask for a laundry room that's separate from other busy areas of the house. Maybe it's due to sharing a laundry room in college or not having a washer and dryer in early apartments. Whatever the reason, a separate laundry room is a hot ticket with millennials.
4. Updated kitchen
Unlike kitchens of yore, millennials want to use theirs to do more than cook. They also want the kitchen to serve as an entertainment space. That means looking for a kitchen that flows into a living room with plenty of space for visitors. Millennials currently appear to favor design touches like stainless steel appliances, recessed lighting, built-in wine coolers, sub-zero refrigerators, and central islands.
5. Room for a home office
Because so many millennials now work from home, they're looking for a house with room to create an office -- a dedicated space where they can take Zoom meetings and calls. They want to be able to shut the doors to the office at the end of the day and not be reminded of work.
6. Great outdoor space
Many millennials now live in suburban areas rather than in cities. One reason may be because of easy access to green spaces. An interesting survey by SunTrust Mortgage found that many millennials make housing choices based not on a partner or children but on their dog. Among millennials who have never purchased a home, 42% say that their dog would play a role in which house they bought. A home with a great outdoor space is certainly more conducive when there's a pet in the family.
7. Turn-key ready
Millennials may be better educated than other generations, but they're also more deeply in debt. When they do attempt to buy a home, they're often faced with tight budgets and not much money left over once a property is purchased. So, finding a home that does not need a lot of work is critical for many buyers.
Preparing to buy a home as a millennial
These are challenging times to search for a home, no matter which generation you belong to. Due to intense competition for starter houses and greater debt levels, it may be a little more challenging for millennials than the average buyer.
Millennials looking to buy a home may want to work on saving up a bit more of a down payment before jumping into a crowded housing market. And no matter your age, it's always a good idea to shop around for the best mortgage lenders before making a decision.
That said, millennials are driving the housing market right now and likely will be for years to come. Building homes that fit their needs may be the best way to keep the market humming along.
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