How Well Do You Know Millennial Buyers?
April 1, 2019
Millennials are the largest buying force in the housing industry, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ newly released 2019 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Report. This generation of buyers, who are between the ages of 21 and 38, account for 37 percent of all home purchases. “The largest cohort in America is growing up and becoming more traditional in their buying habits,” the report notes.
Older millennials—those ages 29 to 38—make up the largest share of buyers who are married, at 69 percent, and are the most likely to have children under the age of 18 living at home, at 58 percent. Their top motivating factors for purchasing include the desire to own their own home, the desire for a larger home, relocation for a job, a change in familial status (marriage, birth of a child, or divorce), and the desire for a home in a better location.
Older millennials have a median household income of $101,200, according to NAR’s report, and purchase homes with a median price of $274,000. That’s comparable to Gen Xers, who have a median income of $111,100 and purchase homes with a median price of $277,800, and younger baby boomers ($102,300 and $251,100, respectively). “Older millennials are now entering the prime earning stages of their careers, and the size and costs of homes they purchase reflect this,” says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Their choices are falling more in line with their Gen X and boomer counterparts.”
Millennials are the generation most likely to make compromises on their home purchases, the report found. They also plan to stay in their homes for 10 years—a shorter time than Gen Xers, who plan to stay 16 or more years.
Millennials also rely on real estate agents when completing a home purchase, with younger millennials between the ages of 21 and 28 being more likely than any other age group to use an agent's services. Some of the top benefits that millennials said real estate agents provide are:
- Help to understand the process (72 percent)
- Point out unnoticed features/faults with property (58 percent)
- Negotiate better sales contract terms (49 percent)
- Provide a better list of service providers, such as home inspectors (49 percent)
- Improve buyer’s knowledge of search areas (41 percent)
- Negotiate a better price (35 percent)
Millennials also place high value on the importance of communication from their real estate agents. They put the most value on agents who personally inform them of all activities; send updates as soon as a property is listed, the price changes, or it goes under contract; communicate via text message; and send emails that address the buyer’s specific needs.
Among features on agents’ websites, millennials found these to be most important: photos, detailed listing information, floor plans, information on recently sold properties, and virtual tours. They found videos (23 percent) and real estate news or articles (8 percent) the least helpful, according to the report. Here are some additional highlights from NAR’s report:
- Commutes are a major factor in millennials’ real estate decisions. Commuting costs were also one of the top factors for millennials when choosing which home to buy.
- They often have financial help with their purchase. Buyers aged 38 and younger are the most likely to receive a gift from relatives or friends to help with their down payment to purchase a home.
- Single buyers are growing. One in five younger millennial buyers is unmarried, and the share of such first-time buyers is growing.
- They’re fleeing the nest. Thirty percent of younger millennials lived with their parents prior to buying their own home.
- They’re in search of affordability. One in five younger millennials purchased a home in rural areas, and 13 percent in small towns. Those figures are the same for younger baby boomers.
- They want to stay close to family. Younger millennials—just like baby boomers and those from the silent generation—are the most likely to say they want to be near friends or family when they buy a home.
“2019 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report,” National Association of REALTORS® (April 1, 2019)
Updated: October 27, 2021