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For fifth year running, millennials maintain status as most active homebuyers

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Believe it or not, Atlanta millennials: Generation Y-ers have been rabid buyers, and a slight majority now have kids

A photo of a four-bedroom house in East Atlanta.
Research indicates millennials are increasingly interested in buying houses like this East Atlanta four-bedroom.
Exp Realty

Perhaps it’s hard to believe, given the rise of renting in Atlanta, but millennials have been the American housing market’s most active buying group now for five years running.

According to new data from the National Association of Realtors, millennials accounted for 36 percent of all home purchases nationwide in 2017. The year prior they claimed 24 percent.

Sixty-five percent of 2017’s buyers were first-timers, and, regrettably, they’re weighed down by more student debt than last year’s sample, the study shows.

And although household incomes jumped to more than $88,000—from 2016’s $82,000—“the typical millennial surveyed purchased a 1,800-square-foot home at a higher cost—$220,000, compared to $205,000 a year ago,” according to Atlanta Agent Magazine.

Millennials in the market for homes also seem to think proximity to friends and family is more important than finding a place with good, close schools, according to the study.

Curiously enough, the percentage of millennial buyers with at least one child has grown in recent years—52 percent in 2017, 49 percent in 2016, and 43 percent in 2015, according to the report.

And not to crush culture-rich, intown walkability dreams, but most millennials—with kids and without—choose to buy homes in the suburbs, rather than in cities, as the Atlanta Regional Commission has highlighted.

A 2016 map showing where metro millennials are living.
Atlanta Regional Commission

“While there is an overall trend among households young and old to migrate towards urban areas, the very low production of new condos means there are few affordable options for buyers—especially millennials,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

Below are some other key takeaways from NAR’s study, via the abstract:

  • Generation X-ers consists of 26 percent of recent homebuyers. They are the most racially and ethnically diverse population, with 26 percent identifying as a race other than White/Caucasian.
  • Younger Baby Boomers consist of 18 percent of recent buyers. They have higher median household incomes and are more likely to have children under the age of 18 in their home.
  • Older Baby Boomers consist of 14 percent of recent buyers. They typically move the longest distance at a median of 30 miles and are less likely to make compromises on their home purchase.
  • The Silent Generation are 6 percent of recent buyers. They are least likely to purchase a detached single-family home. Twenty-eight percent purchased in senior-related housing, and they tend to purchase the newest homes.
  • Millennials remain the most active buying generation for fifth consecutive year [Atlanta Agent Magazine]
  • Millennials lead all homebuyers, even as some can’t escape their parents [NAR]