How Do Millennial Home Buyers Differ From Their Parents?

Get the latest on Millennial home buyers from guest blogger Jennifer Riner of Zillow, who brings us findings from Zillow’s most recent Consumer Housing Trends Report.

Millennials are not who we thought they were – at least when it comes to real estate. According to Zillow Group’s 2016 Consumer Housing Trends Report, 42 percent of home buyers are millennials. Given that millennials – also known as Generation Y – account for such a large portion of buyers, analyzing their home-buying habits makes for a better understanding of the market as a whole.

Despite the popular belief that Generation Y gravitates toward the urban core, most millennials chase their homeownership dreams on unexpected grounds: the suburbs. Nearly half of all millennial homeowners opt for the suburbs, while only 25 percent purchase property in the concrete jungle. Millennials aren’t just moving to the suburbs; they are modeling them to their liking. Fifty-four percent of Gen Y buyers seek out shared neighborhood amenities, like a communal gym or swimming pool.

Along with their desire for included comforts, millennials tend to go big or go home when it finally comes time to buy: across the country, these younger buyers spend a median of $217,000 and skip the traditional starter-home category, unlike their parents and grandparents in years past. But, like Gen X and baby boomer buyers, millennials’ median home size is a comfortable 1,800 square feet. Perhaps these larger-than-life aspirations leave some young house hunters doubting their financial futures – especially in states such as Colorado, where the median home value is $367,500. The majority (66 percent) of millennials at least consider renting as an alternative during the home shopping process.

Despite the generational differences in home-buying practices, millennials aren’t operating completely outside the box. After all, most Gen Y house hunters hire an agent. Millennials actually contact more real estate professionals during the home-buying process and are more likely to stay in touch with their real estate agent than any other age group. While the overwhelming majority (90 percent) relies on the internet for home-buying guidance, young buyers recognize the value of a qualified real estate agent.

Want to know how millennial home buyers compare to the larger market? Take a look at buyer demographics across all age groups, shaped largely by millennials and their new identities:

Jennifer Riner

About the Author: Jennifer Riner writes about rentals, home improvement and design for the Zillow Porchlight.