Homeownership Goals Alive Among Teens

While the oldest crop of millennials have been slow to check into the housing market, a new study from Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate suggests today’s teenagers are eager to jump in.

In survey findings released Monday, Better Homes and Gardens found that the current generation of teenagers—dubbed “Generation Z”—already values homeownership as the cornerstone of the American Dream, with 82 percent of teens surveyed saying it is the most important factor.

Furthermore, when asked about their own interpretation of the American Dream, 89 percent of respondents between the ages of 13 and 17 cited homeownership, putting it above graduating from college (78 percent), getting married (71 percent), and having children (68 percent).

Looking to their future, 97 percent of those surveyed said they believe they will own a home, and 61 percent said they have already begun saving money for homeownership and other future expenses—a lesson many said they took from their school studies on the Great Recession.

The study also showed Gen Z teens have a solid understanding of home values, with those who plan to buy a home estimating they’ll pay on average $274,323 for their first purchase. The latest Census data puts the current median cost of a home at $273,500.

“Today’s teens are fiscally literate and realistic when it comes to their future,” said Sherry Chris, president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. “With such mature insights at such a young age, Gen Z could very well be primed to be the next great generation.”

Despite their apparent financial caution, the survey showed most respondents are eager to move on their life goals quickly, with most aiming to own their first home by age 28—three years younger than the current median age of first-time homebuyers as estimated by the National Association of Realtors.

At the same time, most expect to hit life’s traditional milestones before making their first purchase, including earning an advanced college degree (60 percent), getting married (59 percent), and owning a pet (58 percent). Most anticipate having their first child after buying a home, with only 21 percent wanting to have children first.

Unsurprisingly, when it comes to shopping around for a house, most of today’s teenagers—95 percent—expect to take to the Internet in tackling the key steps.  Still, a 59 percent majority said they plan to seek help from a real estate agent, and 81 percent said they will work through an agent to actually purchase their first home.

“For a generation living in an online world and knowing no limits to online commerce, seeing the overwhelming response from today’s teens on the value of working with real estate sales associates reinforces the importance of relationships and the human element in such a sophisticated and important transaction,” Chris said.

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