Gen Y Changes the Face of Homeownership

June 6, 2013

More and more studies are revealing that Generation Y (those born between 1980 and 2000) have a different idea of the American Dream then their parents. For example, younger people are less likely to become “lifers” of any particular company throughout their career. Instead, a preference for job diversity, jobs that are more fulfilling, and positions where telecommuting is permitted are much more attractive to up and coming professionals than security and higher pay. Homeownership is another area where they differ with Baby Boomers -  their preference is increasingly leaning towards urban lifestyles, rather than the suburban, single-family home option.

Lessons Learned

After the housing crash and the ensuing mess that became the Great Recession, home ownership became unattractive, if not virtually impossible for many young people. Unemployment soared and wages either dropped or became stagnant. To make matters worse, recent graduates were finishing school with a mountain of student loans – but no job to pay them off. And even if you were lucky enough to have a well-paying job and a sterling credit history, home ownership no longer seem like the safe investment it was always cracked up to be. Many saw their parents lose their homes as a result of foreclosure and even endured economic and financial hardship themselves. Generation Y seems to have learned from these experiences and is trying hard to avoid the same fate.

More Green, Less Space

Fast-forward to 2013, where the economy seems to be growing (albeit at a snail’s pace), Americans’ wealth is higher than pre-recession levels, and the housing market is gaining steam.  As new homes are being built, homebuilders are paying very close attention to the preferences of Millenials and Generation Y. These preferences generally favor smaller spaces, which directly impacts utility bills and maintenance costs. Energy efficient appliances and solar systems are becoming much more prominent. At the same time, many of these homes are now being built with a far higher level of technological integration than ever before. Being able to easily set up a sound system throughout your home and monitoring your home with a smartphone app are just some of the features you can find in these tech-friendly residences.

Aside from the in-home factors, young home-buyers also seek walkability and an environment that revolves less around cars and more around community. Although online social networks have become the norm, young people have nonetheless not lost the need for face-to-face interaction with friends, neighbors, and the community at large.

About the Author – Fernando Santillan

Fernando Santillan is a Fresno-based housing and financial blogger for 1st Continental Mortgage | Starrr, Inc.


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