Millennials are definitely shaking up the real estate market. Since they make up approximately 56 percent of first time homebuyers, it should come as no surprise that the real estate industry would have to cater to them. So what are some ways that the millennial invasion is reshaping real estate as we know it? Here are a few shifts we have seen recently.
RealEstate.com was just launched by Zillow to target millennials. How did they do that? They did it by addressing concerns that millennials have about affordability. On RealEstate.com, millennials can search for homes based on the monthly payment, not just the price. This allows millennials to compare their monthly housing expenses to their rental expenses. Millennials often live on a monthly budget so this is a great way to help them understand the cost of homeownership in a relatable way.
Next up, it’s no secret that millennials love technology. They are a generation of instant gratification. They want photos and videos and virtual tours and drone footage; they want to feel like they’ve walked through the home, seen the neighborhood, and know the home inside and out before they even step foot inside of it. That means agents are vamping up their marketing efforts and trying to woo buyers with all the bells and whistles.
Going hand in hand with both monthly budgets and technology is energy efficiency. Throughout Orange County we have seen a ton of development over the last few years. Homebuilders specifically have taken notice that millennials care about eco-friendly options and technological advances in homes. For instance, some of these items include energy efficient appliances, solar panels, dual pane windows/doors, tankless water heaters, etc. I’ve had plenty of young buyers ask me for estimates on monthly utility bills, which shows how important budgeting is to this group. Imagine their joy when a home has solar power and the bills are practically nothing. Score!
Another trend that is loosely connected to energy efficiency is size of the home. The less space you have to maintain, the lower the costs will be. As a result, millennials are seeking smaller homes in an effort to save money as well. The McMansions that were popular in the early 2000s are not the prize horse anymore. This also plays into yard size. We’re seeing shrinking yards and lower maintenance outdoor areas becoming the trend. Not only is this good for the environment, but it takes less time and effort to maintain.
By Holly Schwartz
Holly Schwartz is a realtor with Villa Real Estate who has been featured on “House Hunters” and lives in Newport Beach. She can be reached at HSchwartz@VillaRealEstate.com.