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Market Updates

The Unexpected Reason Why Millennials Are Buying Homes

millenialsThere’s a driving force behind the fact that millennials are the largest group of homebuyers.

And no, it’s not because of marriage. It’s not because of kids either. So why do millennials buy houses? Mainly because of their pets.

It may sound crazy to people in older generations. Research backs it up. Did you know that 72% of millennials own a pet? According to a survey by Harris Pool for SunTrust Mortgage, 33% of millennial homebuyers bought a home because of their dog. Their love for dogs beats marriage. Only 25% said that marriage drove them to buy a house. Having kids isn’t the deal maker as well; in fact, only 19% of millennials say that kids are the reason for their investment.

Here are some other interesting statistics:

  • 89% of Millenials who bought a home in the past year (2017-2018) owned a pet
  • 79% of Millenials who owned a pet said they would pass up an otherwise perfect home if it was not a good fit for their pet

For other millennials  who are planning to purchase a home in the near future, they’re also prioritizing their pooch’s needs. 42% of them said that their pets are one of the primary factors in buying a home.

What’s Wrong with Dogs in Apartments?

Most pet owners buy a house since they feel guilty about leaving their pets cooped up in a tiny apartment while they’re away. Dogs – especially bigger ones – have so much energy. They need all the exercise they can get. Being in a small apartment without any space to run may not be the best living situation.

Higher-end apartment owners have been on the forefront of catering to the pet theme. Some have installed dog runs on their roofs (mostly in urban areas) or pet salons off the apartment lobbies.

According to real estate agents, millennials’ home buying drive is fueled by the need to give their pets the best life possible.

Many realtors will tell you that millennials who go house hunting mention their dogs at some point.

They check out the house, go through the living space, the kitchen, or the backyard and they’ll say ‘My dog would love this.’ Or ‘The backyard’s big enough for my dog to run around. But can we add a fence?’

Dogs are Becoming High-Maintenance

High-maintenance pets are also of importance. Potential homebuyers not only look for huge backyards, they may also be looking for a dog playhouse.

Millennials with a lot of money to spare may also be looking for homes that have a lot of amenities for their pooches and are more attracted to a neighborhood with the most dog amenities.

Some towns and developers have been building

  • Dog parks, which includes seats for pet owners
  • Fresh running water stations for pets and
  • Entry vestibules to keep dogs safe in new homes

They also found out that millennials prefer neighborhoods that are near walking trails. They want to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle for themselves and their pets. People are also adding a dog-washing station in newly built homes.

It may sound kind of outrageous but it’s actually not. Most, if not all, millennials consider their pets as part of the family compared to older generations.

How Millennials Are Different From Previous Generations

Millennials not only belong to a different generation, they also grew up differently than Generation X and other generations prior. And one of these differences is the way millennials see pets.

Millennials are more educated than any other generation. The PEW Research Center says that around 63% of millennials value education and plan to earn a college degree. From that number, there are about 27% female millennials and 21% male millennials with college degrees.

Generation X pales in comparison. There are only 20% female Gen X and 18% male Gen X with college degrees. To push it further, the Baby Boomers only had 14% females and 17% males with degrees.

The increased emphasis on education has led them to be more aware of the environment – including our furry friends.

This may also be the result of their immediate access to information. Millennials are the first generation to grow up with the Internet, coupled with popular animal TV shows on Animal Planet or Nat Geo Wild and documentaries on the Discovery Channel, such as The Dog Whisperer, Too Cute!, Cesar 911, Lucky Dog... you get the picture.

Back in the day, dog owners thought they were doing their dogs a favor by punishing them and using choke collars. As time and research evolved, we now know that dogs (and pets in general) benefit more from positive training and rewards-based correcting.

Pets Are Cheaper Than Having Kids


While a lot of millennials are getting married and having kids on their own, there are some that are putting off parenthood, and even others who don’t plan to have any kids at all.

Raising a dog – no matter how high maintenance it is – does not come close to the cost of raising a baby. Dogs are and always will be, cheaper than babies. With the high college loan costs millenials face, dogs may seem more attractive than children financially.

We all need love. It just happens that dogs are cheaper and easier to handle while giving some people all the love and cuddles they need.

The Millennial Home-Buying Process: Dogs > Everything Else

Understanding what homebuyers need changes the game. If millennials want dog-related amenities in potential homes, then investors now know which homes sell better or what certain renovations are needed.

Some ideas to keep in mind when flippers or landlords are looking at new properties include:

  • Large backyards
  • Fences, walls or other ways to keep pets on the property
  • Locations near pet stores, veterinarians, and pet-friendly parks
  • Dog grooming/cleaning stations in the home, maybe in the front entrance/mud room
  • Single level homes for people with older pets that have trouble with stairs
What are your thoughts on this trend? Let us know in the comments below.

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