And cost-conscious young buyers will be happy to hear that a new home actually costs less to maintain than an older home. An NAHB study found that homes built before 1960 have average maintenance costs of $564 a year, while a home built after 2008 averages $241. Plus, mortgage rates are still very low, bolstering affordability for home buyers.
Mark Woodroof, partner of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Gary Greene in Houston, said the young buyer trend is answering a long-standing question of whether younger buyers would rather rent or buy.
“We’re seeing now that homeownership is still the fabric of the American Dream,” Woodroof said. “First-time buyers are focused on lifestyle and location first, and the house becomes a product of that. This is much different than the Baby Boomers who were looking for the biggest home they could buy. Today’s first-time buyers are more conservative with their budget, because they still want to have money in the bank; they don’t want to be house poor.”
He added, “They are interested in things like the community, walking scores and the local infrastructure, as well as efficiency both with green features but also in size—they aren’t buying more house than they need.”
Dennis Walsh, CEO of REbuild USA and a leading industry trainer in new home sales and agent certification, encourages builders to recognize how younger buyers want to integrate technology into their home.