These days, millennials have finally taken a break from eating avocado toast to save up down payments for their first homes. Though only around 30 percent of the millennial generation has been able to buy property before turning 30, as the group ages, more and more are gaining financial stability and seeing the benefit of investing in residential real estate. Considering that millennials make up the largest generation since baby boomers, many real estate industry professionals are beginning to panic — after all, what do millennials want in a home?
Millennials are the most diverse generation, which makes it impossible to say that every millennial has a strict set of preferences for a home. Still, there are some strong trends across the millennial generation worth paying attention to for those looking to attract a good number of millennial homebuyers. The following factors tend to be the most important to millennials on the verge of buying a home:
Location is always the first and most important consideration in real estate, regardless of who the buyer is. Though many real estate professionals assume that young, energetic millennials only want to live in the heart of big cities, surveys have found quite the opposite: Millennial homebuyers more often look for property in suburbs than in dense urban areas.
There are a few good reasons for this. First, suburban real estate tends to be more affordable than homes in cities. Millennials have less wealth than both baby boomers and gen xers, so low price per square foot matters significantly to homebuyers from this generation. Secondly, millennial homebuyers tend to be on the older end of the generation spectrum. Millennials in their 30s are seeing the end of their party days and are interested in some peace and quiet after their long days at work. Finally, many millennials are beginning their families, and they need extra space for their little humans and all the stuff that comes with them.
Ultimately, plenty of millennials are looking for a Washington, D.C. mortgage or a townhome in San Francisco. Yet, more and more are setting their sights on real estate in suburbs around these urban centers, which give them more of the residential amenities they want and need.
Perhaps another reason millennials are looking to the suburbs is that so many are bent on finding property with outdoor space, especially outdoor space that millennial homeowners can use. Curb appeal with a beautifully landscaped front yard is nice, but millennial buyers tend to be more interested in decks and patios, pools, gardens and other outdoor areas where they can entertain, enjoy outdoor hobbies and otherwise spend their time.
For millennials, the kitchen is the heart of the home. It is where homeowners and their guests tend to spend the majority of their time, regardless of whether they are making food or eating. Unfortunately, fixing up an outdated kitchen is incredibly time-consuming and expensive, so most millennials are unwilling to move into a home unless its kitchen is in tip-top shape. Some features millennials must have in their contemporary kitchens include:
- Updated cabinets
- Pantry for extra storage
- Extra counter space with an island
- Functional layout
- Durable finishes
Excluding zoomers (many of whom aren’t out of adolescence), millennials are the largest and most diverse generation in American history — which means it is remarkably difficult to anticipate every unique need from every unique homebuyer. As a result, properties with multifunctional spaces tend to be more attractive to millennial audiences. Rooms with no clear purpose can serve as home offices, game rooms, storage and more, which allows more than one type of buyer to envision their lives in these spaces. It also means that homebuyers have more flexibility in their properties, which gives them the opportunity to think of their real estate investment in the long term.
Millennials need convenience — not because they are impatient but because they spend more of their time working than generations of the past. Any extra time millennials have off the clock is typically devoted to sleeping and socializing, which doesn’t leave much time for home maintenance. Thus, properties that make maintenance simple are much more likely to attract hordes of millennial homebuyers. Smart appliances and automation are key amenities for this reason.
Millennials aren’t the kids the media envisions them to be. After surviving so many financial crises, millennials are finally ready to buy real estate, and they only want to work with professionals who know what features matter.