Millennials, the newest generation of homeowners, aren’t as quick as past generations to embrace the major life decisions that will move them from renting to home ownership.
While Millennials aren’t yet a majority group among homeowners—they currently represent about a third—they will be. Now is the time to understand their distinct qualities, and how to market to this unique consumer, because the full effect of this trend is yet to be felt. Within the next 10 years, Millennials are projected to own half of the housing stock.
As we know, Millennials delay many major life decisions – marriage, starting a family – by about 4 years. This is not born of lack of ambition, but by a more thoughtful approach to life milestones. This has a significant impact on homeownership, as these life stage markers are often the driving factors for many to commit to a home.
Millennials actually represent a new style of homeowner. This generation brings with it more acquired debts, which means big-ticket purchases or improvements to their homes will not be spur-of-the-moment decisions. This deliberate decision-making is something we’ve seen before, but now, there’s a twist. When this new generation of homeowner does want to make a purchasing decision, the information sources used aren’t always traditional, and the instantaneous availability of information gleaned can drive quick decisions.
Millennials have a variety of resources and a wide network of options to pull from. This tracks with how they live their lives:
- Easy access to what’s important: A focus on how a home makes it easier to do everything they enjoy. Think proximity to fitness centers, parks, bike trails, restaurants, and more.
- Smarter homes: For Millennials, technology is synonymous with home. A home purchase will be driven in part by how the home can support their technology requirements: monitoring home functions via remote apps, appliance connectivity, network wiring.
- Function and form: This is an extension of smart homes. For designer/builders, creating multiple uses for a single space becomes critical. Most young professionals lead 24/7 work lives. This means their home is their office, and vice versa.
For home builders, and home building product companies, this much is clear: The companies that will win Millennial buyers’ trust and return business will be the ones that can be the resource they’re looking for, where they’re looking for it, and when they’re looking. While it doesn’t mean abandoning tried and true marketing practices, it does mean a more thoughtful expansion of where your company makes itself available to start and build the customer relationships that will win those big-ticket decisions. As millennials grow to consume half the housing market, so can we.