Monday, February 27, 2017

Millennials Catch Up

We've all been reading for the past few years about how millennials are slow to leave home, slow to find a career, slow to get married, and slow to buy houses.  In addition, there has been a lot of speculation that they would never embrace some of those things the way that their parents and grandparents did.  Even if they wanted to buy homes, the story went, they have too much student debt to do so, and a generational disinclination to suburbs and investment in real estate in general.

Lately, it seems as though the pundits spoke too soon.  Now the theory is that, while the average 30-year-old has had eight jobs, and while millennials have reason to distrust corporate America, given what happened to many of their parents in the most recent downturn and the one before that one, he or she is not so different from earlier 30-year-olds, or at least from those having children.  They seem to want to buy homes, and even homes in the suburbs, once they start having kids.  While walkability is desirable for them, and puts places with amenities within walking distance at a premium, they own cars, and want to own houses also.

When the Gen Xers and Yers reached this point, they were not interested in homes that needed updating or redecorating.  They wanted everything to be perfect.  The millennial generation, which grew up on HGTV, is much more likely to undertake those types of projects.  In fact, their interest in having balanced lives and healthy lifestyles will make it easier for them to spend the time at home that DIY undertakings require; even professional help means that you need to take the time to hire and manage it, and this generation is willing to do that. 

All of this is good news for sellers, who have struggled with the dilemma of whether or not to fix up homes before selling them, knowing that they could guess wrongly about the taste or budget of a buyer.  Now it seems possible to show potential, and leave the rest up to the buyers.  Reports from recent weekends have indicated that there are lines out the door at open houses in some parts of our region, made up both of first-time homebuyers and downsizing boomers.  Maybe both of those groups will finally rejuvenate the stock of homes being vacated by seniors.  They might have to, if demand goes up enough, and if they end up competing against each other for the listings that are out there.  Now that would be a welcome problem for Realtors in Connecticut!