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Are Millennials an Untapped Market for Co-ops and Condos?

New York City

Millennial Buyers

Millennials want to own their home. Co-op boards can help. 

Jan. 21, 2019

New York City’s co-ops and condos have not, historically, been magnets for buyers known as millennials – people in their twenties and thirties, sometimes branded Generation Y. The stereotypes are now embedded: the members of this generation are saddled with crushing student debt, they embrace the gig economy, and they came of age during the 2008 crash and the ensuing recession. This generation, according to the stereotypes, is not full of potential buyers of houses or co-op or condo apartments. 

A new study of 1,000 homebuyers by Clever Real Estate, a St. Louis-based referral service for real-estate agents, suggests that it’s time for co-op and condo boards to reconsider the prevailing stereotypes about this untapped market of potential apartment buyers. Once they've done that, boards might want to welcome them by taking such steps as reducing minimum down payments. Among the findings: 

Millennials want to buy homes. The study found that 84 percent of millennials believe that buying a home remains a core component of the American Dream. According to a 2018 Bank of America survey, 72 percent of millennials prioritize home ownership over such major life events as getting married (50 percent) and having children (44 percent). In other words, for many Gen Y-ers, buying a home isn’t just about being sensible – it’s a fundamental value. 

Despite such obstacles as high down payments and high prices, millennials are buying homes. While the most recent figures from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that ownership rates remain highest among people aged 65 and over, people 37 and younger make up the largest share of homebuyers (36 percent). 

What millennials look for in a home is also surprising. Rather than proximity to cool bars or a short commute time, their top priorities were neighborhood safety followed closely by the quality of local schools

One finding that will surprise no one: most millennials (63 percent) rely on their mobile phones as their primary research tool, and Zillow is their most popular real estate search portal.

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