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The Long Drive for Homeownership for Millennials

Redfin reports [1] that 93% of millennial homebuyers would prefer a single-family home over a multifamily unit, even if it involved a longer commute to work. 

Overall, one in every 10 prospective homebuyers would also prefer a single-family home over a unit in a multifamily development. 

“I have one millennial couple with a six-month-old baby looking to buy a condo in downtown Minneapolis, but more often homebuyers with young kids are searching for single-family homes in the suburbs with highly rated schools,” said James Garry, a Redfin agent in Minneapolis, Minnesota. “Commute time is less of a concern than it used to be because a lot of people are able to work from home and are no longer subject to the Monday through Friday, nine-to-five grind. But even if one person in the family has a long commute, they’re usually willing to sacrifice living close to work for proximity to their desired school and wide-open spaces where their kids can play.”

Of the respondents, prospective buyers from Gen Z (those born after 1995) were more likely to have a unit in a triplex than single-family homes. The report said that 58% of Gen Z prospective buyers would want a single-family home compared to 42% that would prefer a multifamily unit. 

Regionally, the overwhelming majority would prefer a single-family home than a shorter commute in multifamily development. 

In cities with a population of more than 1 million people, 86% of those surveyed said they’d prefer a longer commute to own a single-family home. That number increases to 94% for areas with a population between 500,000 and 1 million people. In cities with less than 500,000, 91% would prefer owning a single-family home. 

“The old saying ‘There are three important things in real estate: Location, location and location’ may no longer be as true as it once was,”  said Connie Durnal, a Redfin agent in Dallas. “A lot of homebuyers are now placing a high value on overall lifestyle and they’re willing to live further away from work, even if it means a longer commute if being home feels like being on vacation. Many of the buyers I work with are looking for a community where it doesn’t feel too crowded; they want to feel like they have privacy from neighbors but they also want neighborhood amenities such as jogging trails and exercise facilities. Those types of lifestyle amenities are becoming more important than proximity to things like restaurants and shops.”