Millennials and Real Estate

How Millennials Are Changing Real Estate

Millennials are changing the way real estate is done

“Millennial” generally refers to anyone born between 1981 and 2000. As they reach their 20s and 30s, millennials are changing the way we conduct business in every sector, including real estate. Here are a few ways your real estate experience has been shaped by millennials. 


Most millennials don’t remember life without computers; they are dedicated to their technology, and this commitment impacts their approach to buying and selling homes. According to a study by the National Association of REALTORS®, in 1981, many homebuyers (22 percent) searched for homes in the newspaper; in 2016, 95 percent of all homebuyers and 99 percent of millennials searched online. 

The Role of the Real Estate Agent

This commitment to technology has changed the role of real estate agents. In previous generations, REALTORS® were valued for their information. Now, much of that information is available online, and agents are now valued for the negotiation and marketing skills as well as their connections with other REALTORS®. 

How They Communicate

Millennials generally prefer to communicate via text messages. Phone calls are reserved for more complicated or sensitive communications. Email is also important, and 96 percent of real estate professionals say they use email daily (NAR survey). 

To reach a broader audience, agents must now communicate through social media. According to the same NAR survey mentioned above, 80 percent of REALTORS® used Facebook in their business; 71 percent used LinkedIn, and 30 percent posted videos on YouTube. 

Skipping the Starter Home

Home ownership is very important to millennials. The 2017 NAR survey found that 65 percent of people aged 18-34 believed home ownership to be part of the American dream. However, as the author of “Young Buyers Are Skipping the Starter Home” (REALTOR® Magazine, May 2018) points out, the 2008 recession forced some millennials to delay buying a home, so they are just now entering the market. They represented 32 percent of all homebuyers in 2013 and 36 percent in 2017. Because they waited longer to buy—and in some cases because there is a shortage of lower priced homes—they are buying larger homes where they plan to stay longer. In 2013, 13 percent of millennials purchased homes valued over $300,000; in 2018 that number was up to 30 percent. 

Having waited to purchase their first home, millennials tend to buy in the suburbs with good schools. Because the homes are less hassle, new construction appeals to millennials, and in general, they want big kitchens, open floor plans, dedicated work spaces and smart home systems.