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Millennials Are Redefining Home-Buying Standards—and Gen Z Is Next

The home-buying approach varies from generation to generation—and in order to overcome down payment hurdles, millennial buyers are transforming the standards of homeownership set by baby boomers, according to the 2017 Zillow Group Report. In fact, less than half (39 percent) of millennials submit offers with the recommended 20 percent down payment. Twenty-one percent put down the minimum: 5 percent or less.

The financial challenges don’t stop at down payments. Thirty-three percent of millennial buyers report having difficulty qualifying for a loan, and 43 percent have trouble finding out what they can afford. These complications likely stem from a lack of experience, as 71 percent of millennial buyers are purchasing their first home.

“In many cities across the U.S., the housing market is extremely competitive, especially for first-time buyers who are looking to purchase a starter home,” says Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. “Young buyers often start their careers in fast-growing cities in which the market is particularly tough—and they’re trying to save for a down payment while making record-high rent payments.”

Most millennials are not confident in their buying power. Sixty-two percent simultaneously search for rentals as a back-up in case of challenges in their home search, such as finding suitable properties in their price range or within their required time frame.

Millennials will, however, look for creative ways to achieve the home-buying dream. Twenty-nine percent of millennial buyers ask friends or family for down payment help, often coming up with the full amount using various sources.

Millennials will also jump on the opportunity to claim a home. They do not shy away from multiple offer situations, and are not afraid to go over budget. More than 53 percent of first-time millennial buyers make multiple offers on the homes they want, and 37 percent don’t keep to their financial plan. This can prevent future plans to sell if market conditions don’t allow the sale of the home to cover remaining mortgage balances. The typical homeowner still owes 62 percent of their home’s value and 46 percent of millennial sellers won’t sell their home in their desired price range.

The economic landscape may or may not change for the next generation, but they will likely tackle these financial challenges in their own way, the report shows. Generation Z is just now starting to enter the housing market as renters.

“It’s encouraging to see that Generation Z is inheriting the same notion of what home means as their parents and millennial siblings,” says Jeremy Wacksman, chief marketing officer at Zillow Group. “These tech-savvy yet risk-averse renters are bringing their social personalities home, desiring communal amenities geared toward bringing people together.”

While Generation Z buyers embrace homeownership as fundamental to achieving the American Dream, high rent prices may stand in the way when it comes time for them to buy. Thirty-seven percent of renters who didn’t move in the past year state that lack of affordability is the main reason for staying put.

Since 47 percent of Generation Z identifies as non-white, it is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation in U.S. history, the report shows. This may bring to light challenges facing minority buyers today. Thirty-seven percent of African American/black buyers, 33 percent of Asian/Pacific Islander buyers and 25 percent of Hispanic/Latino buyers indicate they are dissatisfied with the home-buying process. This is due mainly to higher denial rates for minority buyers on pre-approvals and mortgages.

The millennial generation is redefining the way homeownership is approached, and Generation Z will have its own impact on the housing market in a few years, the report shows—especially since they will likely outnumber millennials by nearly 1 million people by 2020.

“As they mature and look toward homeownership, it will be interesting to see how their aspirations and preferences will shape the housing market,” says Wacksman.

For more information, please visit www.zillow.com.

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s associate content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at ldominguez@rismedia.com.

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