The Myths of Millennial Home Buyers Busted
The Myths of Millennial Home Buyers Busted
Our generational categories are arbitrary, but it doesn’t stop our culture from attempting to put individuals into neat and tidy categories. In today’s job market, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials and the unofficially named Generation Z are all working together. And for some reason, so many articles and about the workforce, economy, and real estate focus on the Millennials who were born somewhere between 1981 to 1996.
And yes, there are some shared personality traits between members of each generation. Often that has to do with the culture when they were growing up and access to new technology or information, but that’s not the entire story. Right now, many people assume that millennial home buyers can’t or won’t buy a home in California. But as the oldest millennials are nearing 40, the dynamics are shifting in the market. U.S. News predicted that 2019 would be the year of Millennial home buyers. That doesn’t stop people, especially older generations, from spreading myths about young professionals that can actually be harmful in the long term.
Student Debt and Avocado Toast
An Australian millionaire made waves back in 2017 by suggesting that the lack of wealth in his own Millennial generation was because they prioritized luxuries like avocado toast and expensive coffee. And as expensive as avocados are, they don’t directly affect one’s ability to buy a home.
What is a concern for many adults in the millennial home buyers generation is crippling student debt. It may cause some people to delay buying a home, but it doesn’t preclude home ownership as an option.
Increase debt, such as that from student debt, is affecting the entire market, however, not just Millennials. Baby Boomers without strong retirement plans are also running into challenges as they prepare to age in place or in community. Generation X, often looked at as the slacker generation, sometimes eschews traditional homeownership for alternative housing choices. And all of these can intermingle and affect home buying across the board.
Boomerang Millennials and Eternal Rent Payments
Yes, many younger professionals move home after college or even later to save money. But it isn’t because they can’t own their own home, it’s to facilitate the possibility in the future. And, ultimately, the demographic of Millennials that do this is pretty small. So, the people who believe that everyone moves home with mom and dad is putting a negative stereotype on a pretty big demographic. The same is true when people simply assume that millennials would rather rent than buy. There will always be people who prefer renting or are in a position where renting is their best option, but like any real estate related assumption, this can cross generational barriers.
The truth is, affordable housing is a huge concern in the Bay Area, which means rent and home prices can be high. But that doesn’t necessarily prevent individuals from buying a home in the area.
Many millennial home buyers who choose to rent aren’t doing it because they are unable to afford a house payment. Instead, renting may be more practical for the current stage of their lives. For example, young professionals start working for Silicon Valley corporations may choose to rent in the area before they decide if they will stay in those jobs long term. One thing that is trackable about Millennial workers is that they’re more likely to change employment options in shorter timeframes. They sometimes move from place to place or their income streams will vary from place to place.
Some millennials are also delaying marriage kids or they are deciding not to do either. For them, renting may make more sense or they may be in the market for a smaller home for a family of one or two. But just because homebuying is sometimes delayed doesn’t mean it isn’t happening at all.
Poor Interpersonal Skills and Real Estate Agents
Some of the millennial stereotypes are hurtful and patently untrue, which can be a major problem with it comes to intergenerational communication. You don’t have to go far to hear a Boomer or GenXer complain that millennials are entitled brats. But such a mass generalization isn’t healthy or true, and entitlement can come in many forms and among all age groups. And when an older adult is determined that a millennial can’t communicate with them, isn’t that just a self-fulfilling prophecy.
This open letter to real estate agents is a great resource for agents who feel like they don’t know how the millennial mind words. It may be time that experienced real estate agents reconsider how they work with their youngest homebuyers.
For Millennials looking to buy a California home in the Bay area, it’s important that we take time to bust these myths. Everyone, from Boomers to GenX, would do well to reconsider how they perceive millennials and try not to make negative assumptions before working with them.
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