First, before we get to the three things loan officers still get wrong about Millennials, there is one important thing to address up front: it’s not our fault.
I get it. You have Millennial fatigue. You’re tired of hearing about the studies, stories and polls. We’re tired of it, too. We didn’t ask for the studies and the stories about our behaviors and attitudes (which are usually incorrect, by the way). And oh yeah, we didn’t ask for the participation trophy. It was just handed to us!
That attitude may surprise you. Because the perception is that Millennials crave the spotlight and attention. And some do. Some don’t. We’re a group of 75 million, don’t assume we all think and act the same.
With that said, here is a reality check regarding 3 things you have probably (incorrectly) heard about us:
1. We need to be mobile (wrong)
There is this common misperception that Millennials don’t want to buy homes because they don’t want to be tied down. We want to be free to easily move without having to sell a home.
The reality is, we’re not that big on moving from one place to another year over year. Estimates reveal that 20% of 25-35-year-olds moved in the past year. When GenX and Baby Boomers were in that age group, 25-26% of them moved every year.
When Freddie Mac asked renters why they were renting instead of buying a home, “Do not want to be tied down” was rated at 8%, the lowest of the lifestyle reasons given. Lifestyle reasons rated lower than financial reasons.
2. We aren’t having families or buying homes (very wrong)
This generation seems split on whether to move to a new place or remain in their current home.
Pew Research reports that in 2015, 80% of births were to Millennial moms and 45% of Millennials have children under the age of 18 living at home with them. And just like generations before us, as we create our families, we look to buy homes. In fact, we are the largest age demographic to buy homes over the last two years.
Not only are we buying houses, but we are also using that equity already. More Millennials used a HELOC last year than either Generation X or Baby Boomers.
Millennials are the largest age demographic to buy homes over the last two years.
3. When we buy, we want to live in condos in the center of the city (wrong again)
While we tend to buy more condos than Generation X according to NAR’s Generational Trends Report, when you look at the homes Millennials have bought over the last several years, you will see that we prefer a single-family detached home in the suburbs.
Last year, more than half the Millennials who purchased a home (51%) bought in the suburbs compared to 17% who bought in an urban area. Just 3% bought a condo while 84% purchased single-family detached homes.
How can a loan officer help us?
Unfortunately, where we are struggling is in understanding how much of a down payment is required by lenders. (We’re not alone. Check out my colleagues' blogs on Baby Boomers and GenXers – they don’t understand it either.) Still, 86% of Millennials think lenders require a down payment of 10% or more according to NAR’s HOME Survey from September 2016.
We need lenders to understand: We aren’t all that different from past generations of homebuyers. Maybe a little delayed but we are forming families and as we do, we are buying homes, most of them single-family in suburbs and small towns.
More than that, don’t assume we know everything you know about the mortgage process. Yes, we came of age in the information era. However, we need experts who can help us understand what it takes to buy a home today.