Home ownership among millennials is taking a hit. Student loan debt, flat wages, rising home prices (making it harder to get into the homeownership game) and rising rents (complicating the saving process), are delaying milestones such as marrying and having children – major events in life that often cause young people to buy a home. The real estate industry is already feeling the impact of these factors on millennials in regards to buying. First-time buyers have in the past accounted for about 40 percent of home buyers; however, data shows that number has trended downward since 2011 and currently sits at 32 percent. And while married couples are the largest group of buyers (currently 67 percent of all buyers), single females make up the second largest group of buyers, and that share has also dropped from 22 percent in 2006 to 15 percent in 2015.
Still, one big thing hasn’t changed, even with all these statistics showing how things have changed for millennials and the fact that they are worse off financially than previous generations had been, the median age of first-time buyers has stayed relatively unchanged at 31. This means that they are ready and willing to buy if they can in fact break into the market. It’s getting more difficult to get to that point, but the desire to do so hasn’t changed. And while the path to homeownership is harder now for millennials carrying student debt, dealing with rising rents, and experiencing stagnant wages, research shows that millennials still see the value in owning and home and once they are ready, they are looking to a real estate agent in higher numbers than ever before.
We are seeing that millennials are using agents at much higher rates. You might assume that they would prefer to take on a purchase or sell on their own, being raised in the digital age, but instead, we have found that these buyers and sellers want someone to help them through the process, not unlike the way their parents have helped them through their young adult life. Not having been through the process before, they rely on real estate agents to get them through the competitive market and to the finish line.