What Millennials really think about today’s real estate market

A mid-adult couple celebrates receiving the keys to their new home from the real estate agent.

sturti / iStock.com

The pandemic shook the housing market more than any other corner of the economy, just as the millennial generation entered the prime home buying age. So, is home ownership still the cornerstone of the middle-class dream, and are today’s young people willing to go into decades of debt like their parents did to achieve it?

That depends on who you ask.

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To find out what millennials think about their prospects in today’s real estate market, GOBankingRates reached out to real estate professionals who work regularly with millennials, as well as millennial renters and homeowners themselves.

Here’s what they said.

Disillusioned? You bet. Give up? No chance.

Tomas Satas, the founder and CEO of Windy City HomeBuyer, has noted that millennials are “disenchanted with the middle-class American dream” of home ownership.

“In the current climate of high house prices, inflation and recently increased interest rates, many of them see home ownership as a pipe dream,” Satas said.

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However, instead of giving up, they find creative ways to work around these obstacles.

“I recently sold a rural property to a couple who work remotely,” Satas said. “They loved it for the privacy and the price, and there was great 5G signal so they had fast and reliable internet access for their work. They left their Chicago apartment to live in an RV and build their own home piece by piece.”

In other cases, Satas sold fixer-uppers to millennials looking for affordable home ownership.

“These alternative home ownership routes might not be considered middle class, but they’re still the American dream,” he said. “People are resilient and will find ways to get what they want no matter what is put in front of them.”

Parents’ dreams don’t always come true for children

Ravi Davda, CEO of Rockstar Marketing, is a millennial who has challenged his parents’ vision of the middle-class dream.

It didn’t fit.

“When I was younger I thought that a house of my own would be all I wanted,” Davda said. “My parents taught me that. I bought my first property at age 24 and later a house at age 27 with my wife. I didn’t like home ownership at all. There was so much to do in the house, which took a lot of time and money. I felt stuck and tied up.”

He decided to sell the house and invest in a rental instead.

“I now travel the world while working and renting and I enjoy it,” he said. “A lot of.”

Amenities and Community Trump Square Footage

Jason Gelios of ItsAllAboutTheRealEstate.com is a premier realtor at Community Choice Realty in southeast Michigan and the author of Think Like a Realtor. He cites data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) as evidence that the drive for home ownership is alive and well among the millennial generation. Millennials accounted for 43% of all home purchases in 2021, up from 37% the year before, according to NAR.

It turns out the dream of owning a home is still alive — but that dream has taken a different form.

“As more millennials enter the housing market, you’ll find that a lot of home trends are affected,” Gelios said. “Millennials are not the type of homebuyer who are looking for larger spaces, instead opting for smaller square foot apartments that are efficient and smart with energy-efficient appliances and smart home technology.”

Not only do Millennials care about the technology in a home, they also make purchasing decisions based on the area within walking distance.

“The majority of millennials tend to focus on what the local community has to offer in terms of social media,” Gelios said. “We will continue to see more millennial homebuyers flock to urban landscapes than to suburban homes.”

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Luisa Favaretto, founder and editor of travel website Strategistico, is a renter of choice among millennials.

“I have absolutely no desire to own a house,” Favaretto said. “We simply cannot replicate the homeownership experiences of older generations as the structure of the whole world has changed. I actually see home ownership as a burden in today’s society, which is infinitely more dynamic compared to previous generations.”

Favaretto believes that in many cases, older people simply chose homeownership because they didn’t have the opportunities for things like entrepreneurship and travel that today’s millennials enjoy.

“I realize that more flexibility is needed and it’s unlikely I’ll stay in one city forever,” Favaretto said. “I want to explore more and not be tied to one place like my parents were. Also, I’d rather invest my time and money in something I can control better to build wealth, so I started my own business.”

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About the author

Andrew Lisa has been writing professionally since 2001. An award-winning author, Andrew Lisa was formerly one of the youngest nationally distributed columnists for the country’s largest newspaper consortium, the Gannett News Service. He has worked as a business editor for amNewYork, Manhattan’s most widely circulated newspaper, and as an editor for TheStreet.com, a financial publication at the heart of New York City’s Wall Street investment community.

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