Millennials were the largest group of home buyers (34 percent) for the fourth consecutive year, according to NAR's 2017 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study. By comparison, baby boomers were 30 percent of buyers.
"That myth that
After five years of living together in a one-bedroom apartment, Jamil Saeed and Felicity Greenpalm are ready to take the next step and buy a house in Seattle.
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"We want a yard and a place where we can have all of our friends and family over," Saeed told NBC News. "I feel like if we don't do something soon, we're going to get priced out of the market. Salaries aren't increasing quickly enough to keep up with the pace that home prices are growing. It's kind of now or never for us."
"Millennials have been fairly slow to get into the market, but we are seeing an uptick in millennial buyers this year — which is a good sign, because as home values rise, we want a wider number of people to participate in this housing recovery," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR). "There's a pent-up demand and as the economy continues to improve, we expect to see more people in their early thirties, adults who are still living with their parents — clearly not their idea of the American dream — begin to look for their own housing units."
Research done by the National Association of Homebuilders found that more than 90 percent of millennials say they eventually want to buy a house.
"Home ownership is very much at the center of what they want to do in their lives," said Rose Quint, NAHB's assistant vice president for survey research. "They see the challenges, but home ownership is still front and center one of their major goals."
Most millennials are first-time buyers. In many parts of the country, they're dealing with a hot housing market where home prices are soaring and supply is limited. And even though they are typically two-income families, home prices are outpacing wage growth.
Millennials are focused on being able to afford their purchase. They want a property that is well within their budget, real estate experts told NBC News.
Jacob Berg, a
"We didn't take into consideration having good jobs," Berg said. "Unforeseen things can go wrong. If we had to go get a minimum-wage job, we would still be able to afford to make our house payments."
Berg and Rose see their new house as a step up from living in an apartment, as well as a long-term investment. They hope to rent it out some day and move to a bigger place.
The couple's real estate agent, Cyndi Lesinski at John Hart Real Estate, told NBC News her millennial buyers are more focused on the monthly cost than the selling price.
"They have a budget and they want to stay within it," she said. "They want to know what their monthly payment is going to be and are they comfortable with that?"
Lesinski spends a little more time with her millennial clients to make sure they understand the process. But she said these buyers are more financially savvy than most people realize. They understand their money and what makes sense for them, she said.
Last month, the Zillow Group, which operates Zillow.com and Trulia.com, added RealEstate.com to its portfolio. The new site is designed for first-time buyers who are struggling with affordability. Zillow's research found that more than half of all first-time buyers are millennials.
Along with the asking price, RealEstate.com shows the "All-In Monthly Price" that makes it easy to compare the monthly cost of buying that property with the monthly rent you're paying. The results also show many of the costs first-time buyers may not think about when they start their search: estimated property taxes, homeowner association fees, homeowners insurance, private mortgage insurance, utilities and closing costs.
Millennials are late bloomers. They've delayed marriage and children and buying a house. So when they do buy, they want a bigger home. Sometimes, they skip that starter home and look for a house that they plan to live in forever.
When they're ready to buy,
"When they're younger and renting, the central city is where they want to be. But when it's time to buy the home, they want to go to the suburbs," said NAHB's Quint. "They're interested in park areas and that typically suburban neighborhood."
Millennials want big homes: 2,375
Nearly half (48 percent) of the millennials surveyed said they wanted four bedrooms or more. Only 20 percent of boomers and seniors want that many bedrooms. Millennials also want outdoor spaces — a deck, a patio and a front porch — exterior lighting, a shower and tub in the master bath and hardwood floors on the main floor.
Buyers of all ages are starting their home search online. Not surprisingly, millennials and Generation X buyers (born between 1965 and 1980) are the most likely to do this. But about 90 percent of
"They can use the technology to find what's on the market, so our role tends to be different for them," said
Nela Richardson, chief economist at the real estate brokerage website Redfin, sees millennials "aggressively" negotiating commission fees.
"They're significantly more likely than Gen-X and
Redfin data shows that 73 percent of millennial sellers try to negotiate with the listing agent for a lower commission, compared to 44 percent of Gen-Xers and 24 percent of boomers. Nearly
Millennial buyers are also much more likely to get a commission refund or rebate, contribution toward closing costs, or
Realtor.com analyzed search data from August 2016 to February 2017 and found that the top 10 cities were: (1) Salt Lake City, (2) Miami, (3) Orlando, (4) Seattle, (5) Houston, (6) Los Angeles, (7) Buffalo, New