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Millennials and Home Buying

Posted by on Monday, July 29th, 2019 at 12:08pm.

Star Tribune reporter Kim Palmer's article this weekend had people talking.

The headline? What do Twin Cities millennial home buyers want? Not what boomers are selling.

Millions of millennials (the generation born between 1981 and 1996) are entering prime home-buying age, creating an intense demand for starter homes in popular urban neighborhoods. At the same time, millions of baby boomers are trying to downsize from the homes where they raised their families, creating a supply of big suburban homes.

But tastes and lifestyles have shifted in the decades since many of those homes were built. Today, buyers of all ages — but especially millennials — tend to prefer smaller, more modern-style houses in walkable neighborhoods near urban amenities. Millennials gravitate to clean lines, casual living and open floor plans, and view many baby boomers’ homes as too big, too formal and too traditional, with unnecessary rooms and details.

Palmer goes on to say the mismatch between baby boomers and millennials is most apparent in the Sun Belt where "many retirees built enormous, elaborate dream homes" -- but it is also having an effect in the Twin Cities. 

The article shares the story of Katherine Page, a home owner in Minnetonka who is struggling to sell her five bedroom custom Tudor her family built in 1987. 

Page thinks her home has a lot to offer — a great location close to Ridgedale, three fireplaces, walk-in closets in all bedrooms, plus cedar closets, but she added, “I don’t think millennials even know what that is.”


VIBE Realty's broker Steve Anderson has found homes for plenty of millennials. As a millennial himself, he found the article to have some serious truths -- but there was plenty he disagreed with.

I don't necessarily agree with them all wanting turn-key homes and no projects. A lot of times that's the only way they can find a house in their budget is to find something that they have to put a little sweat equity into.

Agent Dan Schneider stressed that for many millennials, location is the top item on the wish list. Which can push large suburban homes to the bottom of the list.  

A house is much easier to modify than it is to move it. Believe it or not, my clients in this demographic see the long game.


VIBE's convenient location in Saint Paul's Cathedral Hill means our agents help people buy and sell homes across the Twin Cities and it gives them a unique perspective on what's happening. 

The biggest underlying shift between the boomer generation and millennial age group is that millennials don't really see themselves living their whole lives in their forever home like their parents did, Anderson said.


And a professional tip for any baby boomer looking to downsize? Besides getting a great agent, Schneider stressed the importance of setting up the home for its potential buyers.

It's as important to depersonalize your space, as much as it is to declutter it, Schneider said. Young buyers aren't likely to see themselves in a space that has your smiling grandchildren, or Fluffy your show cat on every wall. They may be great, but buyers should be imagining THEIR show cat on that wall!


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