Markets & Economy

Teens of Generation Z bullish on homeownership

Tomorrow's buyers would even be willing to give up video games for a year

The 13- to 17-year-olds of “Generation Z” believe homeownership is a more vital component of the American dream than graduating from college, getting married or having children.

That’s according to an online survey of 1,000 teens conducted between July 18 and July 29 and commissioned by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate.

Which of the following, if any, are included in your interpretation of the “American dream”?

Response Percent of respondents
Owning a home 89%
Graduating from college 78%
Getting married 71%
Having children 68%
Running my own business 40%
Owning a luxury car 37%
Being rich or having money to support myself 2%
Other 6%
None of these 2%

Source: Wakefield Research

“We have a clear view of tomorrow through our millennial consumer research — now it’s time to look at the day after tomorrow,” said Sherry Chris, president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, in a statement.

Owning a home might be a key aspiration of today’s teens and be good news for homebuilders, but they might not depend as much on real estate agents.

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Although 97 percent of the survey respondents expect to own a home in their lifetime, 41 percent expect that they’ll find their future home without the help of a real estate agent, and 19 percent said they are likely to purchase a home online.

That would represent a significant departure from current practices — the National Association of Realtors’ most recent survey of buyers and sellers found that 89 percent of buyers relied on agents as a source of information when searching for homes. NAR’s survey also found that when homebuyers use the Internet to search for homes they are more, not less, likely to use a real estate agent.

While investors can buy homes on online auction sites, it’s practically unheard of for consumers to buy a home with the click of a mouse.

Which of the following best describes how you will find your future home? (Of those respondents who said they expect to own a home)

Response Percent of respondents
I’ll find it with help from a real estate agent 59%
I’ll find it all on my own – using online searches or referrals from people I know 41%

Source: Wakefield Research

In the future, which of the following steps of the home buying process, if any, are you likely to do online?

Response Percent of respondents
View home listings 85%
Take a virtual tour 71%
Video chat with real estate agents 29%
Sign paperwork 19%
Purchase the home 19%
None of these 5%

Source: Wakefield Research

Teens in the survey also indicated that they’d be willing to give up certain modern perks like video games, going out to eat, social media and downloading music if it meant they could afford any house they wanted in the future.

Which of the following, if any, would you give up for a year if it meant you’d have enough money to afford any house you want in the future?

Response Percent of respondents
Buying video or mobile games 67%
Going out to eat 60%
Downloading music 56%
Buying new clothes 48%
Using my cellphone 28%
Other 1%
None of these 5%

Source: Wakefield Research

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include responses to the survey question, “In the future, which of the following steps of the home buying process, if any, are you likely to do online?” The story also provides additional context from a National Association of Realtors survey of buyers and sellers.