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5 Fascinating Findings on How Generation Z Perceives Homeownership

by Peter Thomas Ricci

Generation Z, according to new survey results, have interesting views on homeownership.

Generation Z, the next cohort of Americans after the Millennial generation, represents the most wired, diverse group of Americans in the nation’s history. Indeed, starting around the mid-90s (the exact starting date of the generation remains debatable), Generation Z has come of age right alongside the personal computer, the Internet and finally, the iPhone, and according to estimates, the generation’s ethnic breakdown is 55 percent Caucasian, 24 percent Hispanic, 14 percent African-American, 4 percent Asian and 4 percent mixed race/other.

As you can imagine, such backgrounds and attitudes will create a whole new set of challenges for real estate professionals, and Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate has gotten a head start in conducting a housing-related survey of 1,000 American teenagers aged 13 to 17.

What did they find? Here are the five main takeaways:

1. Homeownership Persists – We’ll start with the most encouraging finding in the survey, which was that an overwhelming 97 percent of teens believe they will own a home someday.

2. An Embrace of the Web – Unsurprisingly, 95 percent of teens said they would “take key steps” in the homebuying process online, but 59 percent still said they will undertake the search process with help from a real estate agent, and 81 percent said they’d use traditional methods like working with an agent (with only 19 percent saying they’d buy the home online); so though the Web’s reach continues to spread, it’s not doing so at the expense of agents.

3. Owning as an Investment – The notion of homeownership as an investment also seems to be prominent with today’s teens; 77 percent of those surveyed said they would rather own a house than own a business.

4. In No Rush – Despite that preference, Gen Z consumers are in no rush to own. Sixty percent, for instance, indicated that they’d earn an advanced college degree before buying a home, while 59 percent would get married, 58 percent would own a pet and 21 percent would have children before taking the plunge.

5. Location, Location, Location – Finally, there is the matter of where Gen Z consumers would choose to live, and the sentiments captured in Better Homes’ survey were nothing short of fascinating. Forty-seven percent of respondents said their future home would most likely be in a suburban neighborhood, with 23 percent saying a city, 20 percent a rural area and 10 percent a destination location – so in other words, urban environments continue to gain in prominence, but the suburbs are still the prevailing destination. Also, though mobility took a plunge during the economic recession, Gen Z seems to be a fairly adventurous generation; only 17 percent would buy their ideal home in their hometown, 39 percent plan to stay in their region and 36 percent plan to stay in the same state.

Of course, we’re talking about teenagers here – ever think back to where you thought you’d be during high school? – but such sentiments should definitely creep into your future business planning.

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