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6 Ways Millennials Differ from Baby Boomers in the Real Estate Market (and similarities too!)

Posted by Emily Murray

May 30, 2017 5:00:00 AM

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As an agent, getting to know the next generation of home buyers and sellers should be a top priority. After all, millennials have now edged out baby boomers as the largest working generation and will soon dominate the real estate market as well. While the basics of real estate marketing still apply, capturing this new generation of leads requires a better understanding of their wants, needs and communication style. The good news is that despite the economic challenges this demographic has faced, they are the most likely group of buyers to use a real estate agent.

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There are many consumer characteristics that make millennials stand out. Their preferences for home buying differ slightly in certain areas from baby boomers while aligning with them in others. You might be surprised by many of their similarities as well as their differences.

Here are 6 characteristics unique to millennial home buyers that set them apart from baby boomers in real estate. 

1. Many are Telecommuting and Require a Home Office

Unlike the baby boomer generation who mainly work (or have worked) on site, a large population of millennials telecommute (a.k.a work from home) or are looking to work for companies who offer the opportunity to work remotely. A recent Gallup poll revealed that 37% of American workers have, at some point, worked virtually in their careers. Additionally, the number of workers telecommuting four to five days a week rose from 24% to 31% from 2012 to 2016.

As this trend increases, many millennials are searching for homes that have a comfortable workspace. Millennials value having a work/life balance. Those who are selling their homes are often doing so, in part, for more livable space, including an office.

2. Millennials are Getting Larger Homes While Baby Boomers are Downsizing

Many baby boomers are selling their homes in search of smaller dwellings while millennials are looking for more space to start, or expand, their families. In fact, the average ideal home size for millennials is reportedly 2,475 sq. ft.

3. Single story is no Longer One of Top Requirements

Sixty-four percent of buyers prefer single-story homes; however, millennials are leaving home level out of their dream home checklists. It’s estimated that only 35% of millennials prefer a single level home, compared to 75% of baby boomers.

4. Basements are an Important Feature

One surprising “must-have” for many millennial home buyers is a basement. While basements might have a stigma as cold, damp, furnace-holding rooms, they can also provide a bonus living space. Whether as a play room for the kids, an extra entertaining space or an additional living room, a surprising 77% of millennials are looking to buy homes with basements while only 50% of baby boomers are interested in homes with basements.

5. Millennials are Buying New Homes

Many millennials grew up through the recession and thus, have become financially responsible so it may come as a surprise that they are currently favoring new homes over older ones. One reason for this is thought to be the fact that millennials are waiting longer than other generations to buy homes. Typically, they’ve already entered the work force and have gone through college prior to getting a home. Unlike baby boomers, more are waiting longer to hit life’s recognized milestones (i.e. getting married, having children etc.) and homebuying is another slightly delayed mark of adulthood for many.

6. Located Near Public Transportation

Whether for work or play, many millennials look for homes that are conveniently located near public transportation. The idea that millennials largely prefer the city is a misconception, the majority prefer the suburbs. However, easy access to work and entertainment rank high on the list which is why, for many, a home with public transportation access is so important.

And a few similarities…

1. Outdoor Space

Generation appears to have no impact on our innate love for the outdoors. Millennials reportedly ranked three outdoor spaces as important in a study by RealtyBizNews.com, a patio, deck and a front porch.

2. Energy Efficiency 

Both millennials and baby boomers agree that energy efficiency is important in their ideal home. From appliances to window treatments, conserving energy and lowering costs associated with it, remains a priority across multi-generations. 

As you can see, there are several home preferences unique to millennial home buyers and others that are common across the board.

For more information on how to market to millennials and generate leads, download our free eBook!

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Topics: Real Estate Marketing

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