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The Commonwealth Blog

Monday, October 23, 2017

Bigger Isn't Always Better for Millennial Home Buyers

Are you hoping to work with millennial home buyers? That four-bedroom home on a sprawling suburban lot may be a hard sell. A modest two-bedroom townhouse, on the other hand, could be just what young home buyers are looking for.

There are several big reasons millennials may prefer smaller homes. They’re typically more affordable, require less upkeep, and have less of an environmental impact than larger homes. And, as millennials delay certain major milestones, small homes may be a better fit.

The average age for a first marriage is now 27 for women and 29 for men, compared to 20 for women and 23 for men just a couple generations ago. The average age of first-time moms has also been increasing, going from 21 to 26 in the past 45 years. For millennials who delay marriage and children longer than previous generations, it’s often practical to choose a smaller property for a first home. After all, why pay more for a three-bedroom home if that third bedroom will go largely unused?

Why Should Realtors Care?

It may seem like only yesterday that the oldest millennials were heading to college and searching for their first jobs, but this group has now come of age and is getting serious about homeownership. Millennials now make up 66% of all first-time home buyers, and their preferences are influencing the housing market.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when working as a buyer’s agent for millennials who prefer smaller houses:

Most millennials aren’t looking for their ‘forever home.’ Only 11% of millennials see home ownership as permanent, and 68% say their first home is a stepping stone towards the home they really want.

Young buyers are looking for small homes that feel big. Open floorplans and plenty of windows are popular features because they can make a small space feel larger and less confined. When floor space is at a premium, creative storage spaces are also a hot commodity.

Commuting convenience is key. Not all millennials are buying small condos in the heart of big cities (almost half live in suburban communities), but most want to be close to big city amenities and, even more importantly, their job. 65% of millennials rank “convenient location to their job” as the most important factor when choosing a neighborhood and home.

Millennials are a diverse generation, and it’s important to recognize that not all young home buyers are looking for the same thing. While many millennial buyers may want smaller homes, there will also be some who are looking for space to accommodate a big family. Ultimately, you’ll need to get to know each buyer to determine what’s best for them.

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