Maybe Millennials ARE Buying Homes After All?

And stuff to go in them.

Photo: Katey/Flickr

Some millennials buy homes because their parents are helping them out. Some are delaying that dubious rite of passage, eschewing property owning in lieu of plants. Some are likely doing neither, but just living their lives in homes that they paid for themselves or apartments that they rent, devoid of plants but full of other things that make them happy like books or Fiestaware or snow globes. Some are buying homes, but with the intention of owning more than one in the span of their lifetime — something that makes sense but seems completely unfeasible to me at least.

Turns Out, Most Millennials Want To Own Multiple Homes In Their Lifetimes

According to the Bank of America survey cited by Refinery29, 68 percent of millennial homeowners see the house that they currently own as a starter home — something that they’ll live in for a while and then sell eventually, to move onto something bigger, better or just different. Forty percent of millennials have already started saving for a down payment, and 75 percent of those who have want to pay for it with their own savings. The reasons these millennials want to buy a home make sense: they’re sick of throwing away rent money and would rather pay down a mortgage; they want a place to call their own; oh, and they can afford it.

Maybe this uptick in millennial home ownership explains this downtrend in what Americans are spending their money on, then.

Americans are spending more on their homes than their clothes

We’ve stopped buying clothes because the clothing bubble has burst and retail is dying, but we are buying plants, watching a lot of HGTV and resurfacing the fireplace in our living room armed with little to no knowledge of masonry and a couple of YouTube videos.

At Home Depot, same- store sales in each of the last three years gained more than 5 percent — fueled in no small part by the sale of home appliances, which have grown to represent 7.8 percent of total revenue, up from 6.9 percent just two years ago.

If you have a new house that allows you to fulfill your dream of having a washer and dryer in your actual home instead of down the street and around the corner, wouldn’t you rather spend the money you were going to spend on, I don’t know, shoes, on a really nice one? Imagine being able to pick out your very own fridge. Home ownership isn’t just about owning the home so you can sell it later and get a new one — it’s also about enjoying the actual home that you’re in.

“People in general are focused more on their homes as an investment as well as for enjoyment,” said Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners. “When times have been tight economically, people cocoon.”

Cocooning sounds a lot like nesting, except nesting connotes preparing for the arrival of a baby and not a brand new dining table or a replacement for your Peggy. As for what part of the home millennials are investing in when they finally own, it’s the kitchen.

How millennial homeowners are changing the look of kitchens

So millennials are buying homes, they’re spending less on clothes and spending that money on farmhouse style kitchens that look a little bit like a Fixer Upper kitchen, minus that godawful light fixture Joanna Gaines insists upon using in almost every single home she decorates.


What does all this mean? Whose fault is this? Are we finally realizing that renting puts money into other people’s pockets and not our own? Personally, owning any sort of property is something I just don’t see for myself, though I understand that putting my money into something that will earn value over time makes more sense than, say, stuffing it in the digital equivalent of a paper bag and letting it sit there without actually doing anything. Growing. Blooming. Blossoming into more money, that I can then use to buy a home.

Support The Billfold

The Billfold continues to exist thanks to support from our readers. Help us continue to do our work by making a monthly pledge on Patreon or a one-time-only contribution through PayPal.