Forget millennial buyers. Is it time to target millennial sellers?

Real Estate Technology with Top Producer®

For the last few years, agents have been hit over the head with ideas about how to engage and win over millennial buyers. Agents have switched to texting and Facebook messenger and some are even dipping into Snapchat to get on the level of this young, tech-savvy demographic.


But there’s another opportunity with millennials — a more lucrative opportunity — that you’ve probably not heard as much about. An improving economy and a definitive sellers’ market is converging to bring out an unlikely segment: millennial home sellers. Here are four irrefutable stats that show it’s time to target millennial homeowners who may be ready to move on to the next phase of their lives.


Four irrefutable facts about millennial sellers:


1. They’re selling after just five years

Across the country, home sellers are living in their home for nine years on average before selling. Last year’s Gen Y sellers stayed in their home for only five years before listing.


2. They didn’t wait to sell

By their own reports, 85% of sellers under age 35 moved when they wanted to. Even though they’re selling sooner, only 15% of millennial sellers reported having to wait or rent out their property after they wanted to sell.


3. They’re offloading starter homes, but staying modest

Unsurprisingly, sellers 35 and younger are selling smaller homes. But they’re not upgrading to spacious luxury homes — on average, they’re expanding their square footage by just 25%.

  •       Median size sold home: 1,600 square feet
  •       Median size new home: 2,200 square feet


4. They’re selling for more space and better professional opportunity

Millennial home sellers are primarily selling because they’ve outgrown their current digs; 31% of sellers under 35 sold because they want more space. The second most popular reason for selling (17%) was a job relocation that required them to move from their current abode.


All stats from NAR Profile of Buyers & Sellers, and NAR Generational Trends Report



What this means for you

Starter homes are real, even in today’s tricky buying economy. If your CRM usually turns up the dial on past clients 7 or 8 years after they transacted, you may miss the opportunity to win the repeat business of millennials. Simply put, younger sellers are not staying put as long as traditional sellers have. Even when they can only afford to move up slightly, they’re taking the chance.

Tell us: Are you seeing this trend?

If you live in a less expensive market, where more millennials are prone to own homes, you may be seeing more young sellers offloading condos, townhomes or other starter homes while interest rates remain low.


Are you selling homes owned by those under age 35? How do you engage millennial sellers? Share your experience in the comments we’d love to know how you’re working with this emerging demographic!


Comments (7)

Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

Yes, unfortunately our area median homes are over 1.05M. You show me your parents gift letter, preapproval, I will show you homes.  They often want to view the entire SFBA and debate and narrow down to a few top neighborhoods where townhomes are now over 1.2M+.

The fact they procrastinate so long they lose the competitive edge by the time they decide on a home.  Redfin works with a lot of them. Their offers comes low.  

My experience is the millennials are selling because of marital problems. They are so broke after move in I doubt they can move up.


Jun 14, 2016 11:49 PM
Top Producer® - A division of Move, Inc.

Yes, Sam Shueh , working the Bay Area is certainly a different beast! These stats may not apply to you but across the country and especially in mid-level markets, we're seeing a lot of opportunities. It may be a bit longer until young homeowners in your area feel the need to move!

Jun 15, 2016 03:29 AM
Olga Simoncelli
Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate - New Fairfield, CT
CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management

Modest condo's and starter homes are quite popular as are rentals with millennials; the latter especially in high-priced areas such as New York City and Boston. 

Aug 14, 2016 07:00 AM
John DL Arendsen
CREST "BACKYARD' HOMES, ON THE LEVEL General & Manufactured Home Contractor, TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments - Leucadia, CA
Crest Backyard Homes "ADU" dealer & RE Developer

Great post Sam Shueh and I sorta agree because I have both siblings and children that represent those demos.

My youngest brother, 16 years my jr. just purchased his first home at 56. While some of my children are investing in coastal manufactured home purchases for the quality of life they seek.

Most importantly, however they only have to pay space rent whie enjoying reasonable appreciation on the manufactured home due to geographical proximity and desireability. 

Aug 14, 2016 08:56 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

You're right about focusing on millennial sellers.  They are a generation that is part of the population inheriting from their boomer parents and grandparents.  
While on the surface some  millenials don't seem to be as tied to the material consummer based economy of those who have gone before them, that may change once they have shed themselves of student loan obligations, etc.

Aug 14, 2016 10:02 AM
Andrzej Niemyjski
Realty One Group - Sun City West, AZ

I wonder what percentage is urbal real estate in major markets like New York, Chicago, San Francisco?

Aug 14, 2016 11:12 AM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

Well, seems now people do not really move that often, unless they have to. 

Sep 08, 2016 05:45 PM
Dave Halpern
Dave Halpern Real Estate Agent, Inc., Louisville, KY (502) 664-7827 - Louisville, KY
Louisville Short Sale Expert

Millennials will soon be a major force in driving the market. The more we can learn about this enigmatic home buyer, the better.

Aug 07, 2017 04:02 PM