by Erin Sipe
Millennials Surpass Baby Boomers as Largest Home Buying Population

As the oldest millennials hit their mid-30’s, many are now saying “no” to rent and “yes” to their first-time mortgages. With marriage and children, the commitment to home buying among millennials is stronger than ever. According to Reuters, “half of all home buyers are under 36, as well as 56 percent of all first-time homebuyers.” That means many Georgia builder clients are making their first-time home purchase. With this younger generation buying homes in larger numbers than ever before, it is important for builders to understand what drives millennials’ building wishes. What may come as a surprise is that millennials are largely looking for the same house as aging Baby Boomers who are downsizing from their sprawling ranches and multi-level family homes.

The National Association of Realtors cites a Demand Institute report indicating that millennials largely want what previous generations have wanted: a home in the suburbs with space for raising a family. “A fundamental question about millennials is whether their coming of age in the Great Recession has shaped their goals and aspirations to be different from those of previous generations,” said Louise Keely, president of the Demand Institute and senior vice-president at Nielsen. “We found that, while this generation has many unique characteristics when it comes to housing choices, they share many of the same intentions as young adults in previous decades.”*

So what is different about millennials’ home buying wishes? Perhaps it’s not the “what” but the “why” that has changed from past building clients to the present. For builders, understanding the “why” behind millennials’ wishes will improve client-builder communication and trust. Millennials don’t want bigger homes; they want more practical homes that utilize space well. They don’t want to maximize their budgets. They want financial wiggle room for travel, recreation, and retirement. They see their home not as an emotional, sentimental purchase but as a functional purpose that is one part of their lifestyle—not the entire purpose for why they get up and go to work in the morning.