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Are Millennial Homebuyers Really Different?

A report has been released by Porch analyzing the homebuying trends of millennials as they enter the housing market in ever-greater numbers, including their preferences in homes and distinguishing financial characteristics. The major takeaway would seem to be that—while millennials do have their own particular taste and economic set of conditions—in many ways they are not as nomadic or anti-establishment as often portrayed. If owning a home is considered integral to living the American dream, then a surprisingly high number of millennials (69 percent) feel the same way.

Of all the U.S. homes sold in the past year, 36 percent were purchased by millennials, making this group a vital and growing part of the industry. This number is only set to grow, with millennials projected to take out 43 percent of total U.S. mortgages by the end of the year. Comparing a survey of 1573 millennials released by Consumer Reports with their own recent survey of 2000 American homeowners across all age groups, Porch found that the home improvements most desired by millennials mirror those desired by U.S. homeowners regardless of generation. Topping the list for both millennials and all age groups is an up-to-date kitchen, energy efficiency, and a desire for additional living space.

Ninety-one percent of millennials do their primary research online while searching for a home, but even this fact does not distinguish them greatly from preceding generations, with the average percentage of homebuyers across all age cohorts using the internet for research while buying a home at 87 percent.

A few things do set young American homebuyers apart, however. One of these is the percentage of millennials who find “convenience to job” much more important than other generations. The average percentage of homebuyers who consider proximity to their place of work a significant factor is only 42 percent across all age groups, but 62 percent of millennials found this to be a major factor in deciding where to purchase a home. Millennials also tend to be more price-conscious than preceding generations—something that makes sense when one realizes they are still in the early stages of accumulating wealth as a consequence of the Great Recession.

The report is cautiously optimistic, estimating a trend of increasing wealth among millennials as they come to dominate the housing industry in the future.

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