Home ownership in the United States dropped to its lowest rate in over 50 years in the second quarter of 2016; it fell to 62.9%, according to the Census Bureau. This is mostly due to the fact that millennials aren’t buying homes; not because they don’t want to but because they can’t.
The Pew Research Center reported that living with parents is now the most common living arrangement for men and women aged 18 to 34 for the first time in 130 years. Millennials have now exceeded the elderly as the age group most likely to be living in multigenerational households. Living with family or renting seems advantageous to millennials because buying a house costs a lot of money up front and a lot of money to maintain. This generation remains plagued with student loan debt, making it hard to save the money required as a down payment.
“Long term, homeownership is a key part of wealth creation,” says Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for Realtor.com. “If young people are not getting into homeownership at the same stage, it’s going to put them further behind from a wealth and retirement perspective.” Many millennials recognize this idea, but simply can’t afford to do so at this point in their careers.
Millennials still aspire to own homes and expect do so in coming years. Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey found that among renters aged 18 to 34, 91% are hopeful homeowners, that’s compared to only 72% of all renters.
“Millennials coming of age: one of the largest generations in history is about to move into its prime spending years. Millennials are poised to reshape the economy; their unique experiences will change the ways we buy and sell, forcing companies to examine how they do business for decades to come.”
The downward trend in homeownership will inevitably reach a breaking point and begin to turn upward. When that swing occurs here are few things that will help you stand out to the flood of millennial homebuyers:
- Have a strong online presence– millennials rely on Google and the internet, there’s no way around it.
- Respond quickly– if it takes you longer than 24 hours to respond to an email, good luck selling a house to a 20-something.
- Use social media– millennials trust online reviews from strangers more than what you are saying about your own brand. Build an active community around your brand using your happy customers. Keep in mind, what people say about your brand, positive or negative, defines your brand.
- Don’t be pushy– getting a millennial through the door is the hardest part, don’t ruin that by being over assertive, they don’t care that you know more than them.