The truth about millennial homebuyers

What you should know about working with this generation

The millennial penchant for artisanal cuisine, coupled with their apparent reluctance to invest, has been the source of much debate in recent months. Who knew craft beer and cold brew coffee could spark so much controversy?

While older generations worry about the economic impact of perceived generational changes in spending habits, millennials are quick to point to student loan debt and an increased cost of living as the culprit of their alleged financial woes.

But when it comes to homeownership, could both sides of the generational spectrum be misinformed? Here are a few misnomers floating around out there about millennials and the truth.

Warning: The facts may shock you.

Average age of first-time homeowners

According to the National Association of Realtors, the age of first-time homeowners has remained relatively stagnant over the past 40 years, shifting only slightly and staying around 30-31.

Takeaway: Millennials are entering the housing market — and only slightly later than their predecessors.

The impossible requisite 20 percent down payment?

Saving up for a 20 percent down payment is a daunting, and in many cases an inconceivable, prospect for many renters — and understandably so!

The good news is that the average down payment in 2017 was just 11 percent, according to Realtor Magazine. And as for borrowers under 35, the average was even lower at 8 percent.

Takeaway: Tell your buyers not to be discouraged by assumed intractable barriers to entry. Do their research for them.

Homeownership assistance

Homeownership is no longer a one-size-fits-all solution. In fact, there are many ways for renters to become owners, such as Home Partners of America’s lease-to-own program, crowd funding down payment strategies or other low or no-down payment programs.

Takeaway: Make homeownership work for your buyers. Where there’s a will, there’s (probably) a way.

A calculated investment

The role of homeownership as it relates to the American dream, or more specifically #lifegoals, has shifted for many a millennial. However, that doesn’t render the once quintessential milestone irrelevant.

On the contrary, millennials should take a vested interest in homeownership as a calculated future investment. As home prices continue to appreciate in underdeveloped urban neighborhoods, millennials have a rare opportunity to cash in on these appreciating properties.

Takeaway: Homeownership isn’t going anywhere. If anything, it’s evolving — and in certain cases more accessible than ever before.

The truth is, in today’s economy, you can have your cake avocado toast and eat it too. It’s all about doing your research about the many different options and strategies to find the one that fits your buyers’ unique situation and ultimate goals.

Craig McClelland is the chief operating officer of Atlanta, Georgia-based Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers.

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