The mortgage industry has been talking about how to market to Millennials for some time now—almost as if we’re some kind of unicorn (I, myself, am a proud Millennial). After all, all Millennials are entitled, tech-obsessed, lazy and would work for a few compliments, right?
Wrong. Unfortunately, some of the “Millennial-oriented” messaging I have seen (not all, just some) seems to be built upon those misperceptions. So let’s attack the most important one—that most Millennials don’t want to own a home.
Wow, is this off-base. Let’s start with a few basics.
Millennials are generally considered to include that group of Americans borne between 1981 and 1997. That means that we range between the ages of 23 and 39. We’re really just starting to come into our purchasing power. There are stats out there suggesting that previous generations (Gen X, Baby Boomers…) had slightly higher percentages of home ownership when they were in their twenties and thirties. However, the concept of home ownership as the American Dream was much clearer and more prevalent in those years, as well. Those generations were not inundated by the messaging, differing viewpoints and sheer information available to us via social media and the Internet. Many were simply taught that part of growing up was owning a home and having a family.
Millennials are also more racially and ethnically diverse, as well as more highly educated. I’m taking my stats here from a great survey conducted by the Urban Institute. You should really check it out. As a result, we’ve been in less of a rush to settle down and make the big down payment on a home. After all, quite a few of us are still paying down our student loans. Don’t forget, also, that we’re now living through our SECOND “once-in-a-generation” economic downturn. Toss in the upheaval that surrounded 9/11 and the War on Terror, and you’ve got a recipe for uncertainty. So we’re a cautious lot, to say the least.
But none of this means that Millennials don’t aspire to homeownership. Far from it. In fact, one survey conducted by Apartment List and reported on by Inc. found that 89% of those surveyed wanted to buy a home. They just felt they wouldn’t be able to afford it for a while.
I try to keep my Deeper Thoughts segments fairly short—I could turn this into a full-fledged white paper. But for now, let’s agree that of all the Millennial homebuyer myths, “Millennials don’t want to buy a home” is the furthest from the truth and the easiest to disprove. We’ll move on to a new myth for my next Deeper Thoughts!
What do you believe to be the biggest myths about Millennials with regard to homeownership and mortgage lending? Please share with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.