Millennial Homebuying Trends

desmoinesDon’t be put off by the apparent regional focus of NPR’s October 13, 2015 news story, “Why Are Millennials Buying So Many Houses In Des Moines?” It’s packed full of interesting information about the home-buying  habits of young-ish people (born between 1982 and 2004) nationwide.

Much of the information is provided by Elora Raymond, researcher for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for Realtor.com, and Rachel Flint, Vice President of Suburban-Des Moines-based Hubbell Realty. These guests point out, for example, that:

  • The youngest first-time homebuyers tend to have the strongest credit rating, despite carrying a lot of student loan debt.
  • One thing that helps millennials’ credit rating is that they avoid credit card loans.
  • Another thing that helps their credit rating is that they avoid car debt; in fact, they aren’t big on car-buying at all, favoring homes in walkable areas, about a mile closer to city center than is typical for other buyers.
  • Some save up to buy a house while living in their parents’ basements.

My favorite point from the report, however, was the trend-bucking comment of recent homebuyer Dani Ausen, who says that the bold interior paint colors (orange, red and dark turquoise) “kind of sold the house to me . . . Seeing it not, like, painted all white or beige was very helpful.” So, mea culpa, I’ve repeated the industry wisdom of painting one’s home in neutral paint colors many a time.  And it’s still good advice . . . except when it isn’t!