Millennials are ready. The largest generation in this country, the sleeping giant, is waking. They have been tossing and turning in the effects of the great recession, the nightmare of student loan debt, the soreness lower wages have inflicted. They are stretching their long bodies, feeling their size. Their eyes are slowly peaking outward, to a world that is beginning to belong to them, the new stewards of earth are here. They want their own patch of land and shelter, and the security and investment needed to make their mark, their rock to lookout onto to a world that is ready for their full presence. They are ready to move, and the real estate market is ready.
Borrowed Land, Borrowed time
For years millennials have stayed on borrowed land, and borrowed time. They were deemed a generation of renters, signing lease after lease to prepare for their awakening, to make a lasting commitment to own a home of their own. As many have entered their 30’s, they are becoming more financially secure and starting families, the census projects that household formation will average about 1.5 million per year through 2020, up from the 900,000 annual average in the past five years.
They are looking to the evidence that homeownership is an investment in their future, in themselves, financial or otherwise. “Owning a home for a longer period of time creates more wealth,” said Christopher E. Herbert, managing director of the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. “If you shrink that amount of time, you’re going to shrink how much wealth it creates.”
“After years of seeing millennials sit on the sidelines, it’s clear some are recognizing it might not make sense to wait,” said D. Steve Boland, Consumer Lending executive for Bank of America. “We talk to younger buyers every day about homeownership, and they understand the benefits it can have on their long-term finances. They’re excited to get started but are taking a thoughtful approach by improving their credit and building their savings.”
Exploring their options
Millennials love options. They are also adaptive to change. Since they have been starved from the housing market for years, they are hungry for change, and will weigh what’s important to them, the first being inclusion in the market. While millennials love living in cities, they are moving to suburbs to make that change, to own a home. What they love about the cities are those options they are accustomed to, so they are flocking to suburbs, outside of urban areas, that can have the best of both worlds. A survey from the National Association of Realtors showed that for millennials, buying in an urban or central city areas decreased from 21 percent to 17 percent. Unlike their parents, they are looking for suburbs with urban amenities such as yoga classes, health food stores and walkable downtown areas, close to parks and natural areas. They also don’t want long commutes. “People want more urban perks,” says Alison Bernstein, founder and CEO of Suburban Jungle. “They don’t want to be isolated. They don’t want to feel alone. They want to be part of a community. … They really want walkability. They love great downtowns.”
Rise and Shine
The housing market is ready and waiting for this surge of new home buyers. This influx will also allow current homeowners to buy up to the homes of their future, many of them the parents and grandparents of this generation. When the housing market does well, everyone does. Millennials will move quickly, and assertively. They know what they want and they want it now. They are getting their feet beneath them, and the earth will begin to shake. They are a powerful force of creativity and connection. They will now be looking for that security from which to root themselves and grow even large, a giant in social and economic life, is waking.