Consumers Show Shift in Home Ownership

April 24, 2015

The majority of consumers are upbeat when it comes to the housing market. Low interest rates and a strengthening economy have prompted this consumer optimism, according to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices' Homeowner Sentiment Survey, a survey of about 2,000 consumers' attitudes toward home ownership.

94 percent of home owners and potential buyers surveyed say that home ownership is a critical piece to their long-term financial planning.

"Home owners today seem to have a longer term perspective for their properties," says Gino Blefari, HSF Affiliates CEO. "Owners are telling us a home is more than its price tag, and they're placing more value in a home's intrinsic qualities of wealth building, safety, satisfaction, and a place to raise a family."

However, there are some differences among age groups when it comes to home value perceptions. Baby boomers and Gen Xers, tend to embrace home ownership first as a "smart, long-term investment." On the other hand, millennials are "thinking in the now" about real estate and tend to place the highest priority on the "ease of a purchase decision," including the ability to close quickly on the property, secure financing, and afford monthly payments.

Millennials' say they see one of the major benefits to home ownership is having a place they’re proud to show family and friends. They also value a community with great schools and seek locations that encourage healthier lifestyles. 61 percent of millennials say it's also important to live in a neighborhood with a variety of trendy dining and retail options.

"As millennials become a larger part of the home-buying market, their preferences become better defined and seemingly more traditional," says Stephen Phillips, president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. "We have always believed there is more similarity than difference among home-buying groups, and this new data seems to support that view."

Overall, the majority of current home owners – 88 percent – say it's important to update or renovate their home over time to enhance its long-term value. Many home owners seek home improvements that are energy efficient and eco-friendly systems and materials. More than 60 percent of current home owners said they favor "green" home improvements – even over kitchen, bath, and flooring projects.

The millennial generation is the most enthusiastic about home improvement projects. Sixty-one percent surveyed say they wan ta home they can upgrade to their preferences.

Source: "Homeowners Voice a Shifting Sense of Home Value in New Study," Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices (April 23, 2015)