The “Millennial” generation, a generation tbd. They’re known as radicals, rebels, the egotistical generation still dependent on their parents well into their late 20s. With so many not so young adults living with their parents and a higher than ever debt to income ratio, many Realtors and Brokers are left wondering if it will or is causing a downward trend in the Real Estate market or if it will negatively affect their careers. There are many concerns with our aging Generation Y but I am here to assure you, being a Millennial, we will grow up and have properties of our own when we want to- it might just take a little extra time.
What if you grew up in an overwhelming tech savvy age where “selfies” were socially acceptable, where the media influenced your every thought? You would probably be slightly self absorbed too. Our generation was born somewhere between AIDS and 9/11 in the most chaotic and competitive technological period in history. If this is how your generation was defined thus far you would probably want to live in a van or off the grid too.
In the history of the United States, we have never seen such high costs of education. It’s not our fault many of us have so much student debt- the average debt for 18-34 year olds is $27,500 with over $3000 being on a credit card. Our parents didn’t teach us about banking or how to manage accounts, they just did it for us then handed us money when we got too loud. Here’s what you need to understand…we care tremendously about the environment, leisure and recreational activities, fine dining and what’s #trending. We are the first generation where every kid gets a trophy for showing up and it’s socially acceptable to post our every move, every burp, every meal for the world to see. All this can tremendously help in a business environment. We have new and different approaches to previously established protocols and we encourage others to think outside the box. We love to share information and will show you how. Granted it might come from a lazier than ever attitude but our theories prove to be less time consuming and more efficient. We help diversify baby boomer companies and bring a huge skill set to the table with a keen sense of technology, communication and diversification.
As an economy we are still recovering from the 2008/2009 Real Estate market and I’m here to assure you, being on the older side of the Millennial generation, prepare for an increase! It has taken a little extra time for a few reasons. The biggest reason is because The American Dream is changing- most Millennials don’t want the traditional home with a white picket fence, dog and two kids. We want to see the world and we are interested more than ever in travel, valuing experiences over possessions. Most of us have trouble staying in one place because there are so many different places to explore and travel is more accessible than ever thanks to our iPhones. This is why it has taken us longer to buy property. According to the Census Bureau only 36% of Americans under the age of 35 own a home. That's down from 42% in 2007 and the lowest level since 1982, when the agency began tracking homeownership by age. Most of us cannot even qualify for loans because establishing employment history for two years or more in one place is nearly impossible.
So why even buy property? Seems like a lot of paperwork. Our parents have great properties, being mostly baby boomers on their way to retirement. We can just get on their deeds. Despite this mentality, we are starting to realize having homes to ourselves allows us to make our own rules. We want to start our own lives and families. Instead of centralized air and heat with multiple car garages we want solar panels, greenhouses with large windows and battery powered or electric toys. The older and more cultured we get as a generation the more we are valuing toilets that flush or compost. Having the same roof over our heads isn’t such a bad thing after all, especially when that roof isn’t made of nylon tent material or metal from living in our cars. What we want more than anything is a Realtor and local Business that understands us. So pitch the lot of land to park our RV on, or recommend a Tiny Home builder- we’re into diverse ways of living. Show us where we can start a community garden and built a meditation teepee. Maybe a lot that hasn’t sold in years is perfect for building a sustainable log cabin or yurt in the woods. In fact, some of us still want the Single Family Home with the two car garage because it’s comforting, just ask or check our Facebook feed. 90% of Millennials actually prefer owning over renting, especially as the generation starts #adulting, according to a recent survey from Fannie Mae.
So take a deep breath- we are not in a housing crisis. There isn’t a shortage or overflow of properties and eventually we will want individualized attention and hand holding when we look at our first property. We are the most highly educated generation thus far yet we make less than any other generation so we have to work smarter. We accept lower wages because we don’t need to fill our houses with decorations and children. We value simplicity and we need a Realtor who can understand that. So help us qualify for a loan through a local bank, then show us something reasonable rather than extravagant. Save those properties for our retiring parents. In fact, if we like what we see and vibe off of you, we will readily refer our 5000 Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat friends and Alumni from schools all over the world because you took the time to understand your buyer’s needs.
-Sarah Alexandra, Contributing Writer, Office Millennial