The Millennial Home Buyer
After a bit of delay, a new generation, the Millennial home buyers, have finally entered the housing market. Generation X—those ages 33 to 47—made up the majority of home buyers, (31 %) in 2012 reported by the National Association of REALTORS®. However as of March 2014, the generational trend has shifted says the newest numbers published in the NAR Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends. The trend now, Gen Y—those 32 and younger—now makes up the majority of home buyers (36 %) followed closely by Generation X. So what does this generational group of buyers forecast for the market? Says CNN Money, Realtor.com Chief Economist, Jonathan Smoke, “predicts that new home sales will climb by 25% next year. And in some markets, the influx of young first-time buyers will be especially significant.” And yes, Los Angeles is included in the 10 hottest housing markets for 2015 due in part to the influx of first-home Millennial buyers. According to the article, the Los Angeles housing market will experience a growth spurt this year due to these new buyers:
Los Angeles 2015 home sales forecast: +6%
By virtue of Los Angeles’ immense size — the metro area population has surpassed 13 million — even moderate household percentage growth translates into a lot of people, which helped put LA on the top 10.
Y Home Buyers: ‘Mobile’ and Timid?
What does the Gen Y home buyer trend signify for the home market overall? A few things – considering Gen X was leading the way for the past few years in what was a depressed economy, this changing of the generational guards could be quite significant for the market. According to NAR, “97 % of these Gen Y buyers are financing their home purchase as opposed to 55 % of the Silent Generation and 88 percent of the overall buyers.” This is quite significant not only for the economy but what it potentially means over the next 5-10 years for Y’s — or Millennials as they are more commonly known—and for the generation behind them, watching their moves carefully. While Gen Y was late to the home buying game and have not lead the race in terms of first-time home buyers percentages tracking, it is likely in part due to the fact that they watched Gen X-ers and Boomers experience a market housing bubble, subsequent market crash, and a depressed economy. And it should also be noted that banks were no longer lending. But, more likely, as they seem to be trend setters, marching to the beat of their own drums, is that some of this waiting may be more attributed to the fact that they watched the generation before and have decided to make their own rules. Keep in mind this is the first truly mobile only generation. NAR says:
Gen Y is most likely among generations to also look online for information about the home buying process. More than half of Gen Y used a mobile device during their home search. Among those who did, 26 percent of Gen Y found the home they ultimately purchased via a mobile device.
‘Move Over Boomers…’
It could be a powerful few years now that Millennials have jumped into the housing market. Millennials are “estimated at between 70 and 80 million people, the biggest population bulge since baby boomers,” according to an article on The Real Deal. Also they are not the city slickers that Gen X was or that speculators portended. These independent spirits crave space and the suburbs over their predecessors who ambitiously headed for the city.
And…quite significantly, while Gen Y surpassed X in the third quarter of 2014 by a few percentage points, says The Real Deal, they were late bloomers waiting longer to buy… Says the feature:
… the home ownership rate for heads of households under 35 was only 36 percent in the third quarter of 2014 was the lowest rate since the U.S. Department of Commerce started tracking the statistic in 1994.
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal, reported that according to a recent survey of Millennials, they’re not following what speculators and forecasters assumed would be a “city-dweller” trend for this group. The survey released by the National Association of Home Builders, suggested that “based on responses from 1,506 people born since 1977, found that most want to live in single-family homes outside of the urban center, even if they now reside in the city.”
Fewer young people are buying homes because women are waiting until later in life to have their first child. The average age of a mother at her first childbirth was 25.4 years in 2010, up from 22.7 in 1980, federal statistics show.
So it looks as though Millennials will be a huge force to watch over the next 10-20 years. Essentially, now that they are having babies and starting families and moving out to the suburbs, Y buyers are driving the housing market.
Finally, watch Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist of Realtor.com, talk about the significant of this new influx of buyers. Says Smoke, “The economic opportunity favors the young. Collectively, they will drive housing trends for at least the next 20 years. Move over, baby boomers—there’s a new economic force in town.”
As the market home market continues to grow and change, I’ll continue to keep you posted on the exciting news especially the updates coming from these unconventional home buyers over the next year…
If you are ready to purchase your first home or interested in viewing homes in Ventura County, contact Lydia Gable today for an appointment.