Millennial First time Buyer

Millennials More Willing to Buy Fixer-Uppers

Millennial first-time homeowners are showing more willingness than previous generations to complete do-it-yourself projects around the house or wait until they can afford to make the improvements they desire, a new survey by Better Homes & Gardens magazine finds. Fifty percent of those surveyed said that their current home required some degree of repair or remodeling at the time they moved in.

Only 50 percent of first-time millennial homeowners say they are willing to spend top dollar to get exactly the features and quality they want in a home, the survey showed.

"These first-time millennial homeowners are focused on building equity, not debt," says Jill Waage, editorial director of Digital Content and Products at Better Homes & Gardens. "They are strong believers in being able to afford their dreams as they achieve them and not over-stretch themselves."

Eighty-five percent of first-time millennial homeowners say they view homeownership as a sound investment.

Their housing wish-list is for a mid-sized home (about 2,000 square feet) with a renovated kitchen and bathroom, as well as a deck or patio space.

The DIY projects that landed the highest on their to-do lists are installing light fixtures and tile, and painting walls, the survey found.

"Millennials and millennial 'firsts' [first-time homeowners] are paving their own paths in homeownership based on their own budgets, timeline and needs," Waage says. "These 'firsts' are replacing big-budget homes and expensive renovations with patience, frugalness and practicality."

Young Adults Struggling to Buy Their First Home

Whether it's lagging salaries or soaring costs, young adults across the region aren't ready to leave home.

Starting salaries lagging behind inflation coupled with ballooning student debts prevent many recent graduates from affording mortgage and even rental payments, said Bob Reby, CEO of Danbury-based Reby Advisors. As a result, young adults' decisions to defer moving away from home is more a matter of necessity than choice. This is a "systemic societal problem," he said.

"What I'm seeing is young people, as talented as they are, having salaries that are not keeping up with the ability to buy a home at the age their parents or grandparents were when they bought their first home," Reby said. "Inflation adjusted, it's a fraction of what people earned in the 1980s out of school. Even renting is a challenge. If renting is a challenge, buying a house is definitely a challenge. Then, if there's college debt, that's something else they have to deal with."

Reby advises clients to spend no more than 28 to 32 percent of their gross income on housing, whether it's renting or buying a home. But he often sees people making financial decisions based on expected salaries in the future, rather than the present, he said.

For Millennial Buyers, Home is in the Heartland

As housing prices continue to rise, more millennial homebuyers eye cities in the American heartland where prices remain relatively more affordable, according to the October Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker.

Minneapolis topped Ellie Mae's list as the most popular metropolitan area for homes purchased by millennials (44 percent), followed closely by Philadelphia (43 percent), St. Louis (42 percent), Chicago (40 percent) and Detroit (40 percent).

Two states, Florida and California, laid claim to the least popular cities for this new generation of homeowners: Miami (27 percent), Los Angeles (29 percent), San Francisco (30 percent), San Diego (30 percent) and Tampa-St. Petersburg (30 percent).

Snapshot of the typical millennial buyer

  • Slightly more than half were single (51 percent) while 49 percent were married
  • The average age was 28.7 years old
  • Men were more likely to be listed as the primary borrower (64 percent) than women (33 percent)
  • The average FICO score for was 722
  • Millennials opted to take out conventional loans (57 percent) more than FHA (40 percent), VA (1 percent) or unspecified financing options (1 percent)
  • The average loan amount for purchases was $182,498

"As housing prices continue to rebound, millennials are increasingly representing a higher percentage of homeowners in the middle of the country, where they can get more home for their money," says Joe Tyrrell, executive vice president of corporate strategy at Ellie Mae. "The average appraised value of homes purchased by this new generation of buyers was $223,153 in October – a modest increase from $221,383 in September, but nearly a five percent increase from when it was $212,939 in June."