Millennials are now leading the “pack” of home buyers and mortgages; and guess what is motivating many of them to make that decision? According to a recent survey conducted by the Harris Poll for Sun Trust Mortgage, 33 percent of millennial home buyers (ages 18 -36) were driven towards that nesting call because of their dogs.
“Millennials have strong bonds with their dogs, so it makes sense that their furry family members are driving home-buying decisions,” said Dorinda Smith, SunTrust Mortgage President and CEO. “For those with dogs, renting can be more expensive and a hassle; home ownership takes some of the stress off by providing a better living situation.”
Dogs ranked higher than marriages and birth of a child as prime motivating factors for purchasing a home. For those millennials who have not adopted a dog but are planning to find a canine companion in the future, 42% have stated that is a key factor for home ownership.
For animal lovers, the news is certainly not surprising, and presents a good barometer for real estate professionals honing in on a market of sophisticated and discerning young home buyers. With so many rental restrictions affecting the breed of dogs, the size of dogs, additional fees and just the dissatisfaction of no space to run around, pet people need a different and friendlier solution. So why not purchase a home with a yard? Better yet if there are dog parks and pet friendly neighbors, people make more friends. Dog parents have less restrictions in their own homes. So many times, while showing a home, future buyers with dogs hold the backyard space as a priority – even over closet space and modernizing the kitchen.
We now can expect to see more dog friendly amenities in newer neighborhood construction, including more dog parks, walking trails, doggy disposal bag stations and perhaps a cool running water fountain – one for the humans and one below for convenient doggy reach. And as a parent of a millennial, who has grown up in a world of rescuing dogs, cats and horses and more aware of environment and a compassionate world for all animals, is it any wonder this next generation shows more respect for their pets than just the obligatory junkyard dog chained to a doghouse 24/7? Few dogs in the past generations were treated as respectfully as Lassie.
And then there’s always another consideration for the doggy boom with millennials. No matter how many creature comforts this generation lavishes on their dogs, the expenses are nowhere near the expenses of having a child. Perhaps the loyalty and love from Gotham the dog provides that too – or at least for awhile?
We do need to warn prospective homeowners however that those purchasing a townhouse, a condo or an apartment, Home Ownership Associations can present as many restrictions as renting. Make sure to carefully check out requirements from the HOA and even disclose pertinent information on home insurance policies as to the breed of the dog. All in all, there’s nothing like having a dog.
Please note the survey was conducted online from June 28-30, 2017, among 412 U.S. adults ages 18-36, among whom 248 purchased their first home and 135 have never purchased a home. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
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