Vol 8 No. 8 - November 14, 2007

Generation Y-ers are savvy home buyers

By Louise Bolger
sun staff writer

If you think the baby boom generation has had the most significant influence on society this country has ever known, get ready for Generation Y. It’s true baby boomers still have tremendous power because of their sheer volume, but their impact is starting to shift when it comes to home purchasing.

The baby boomers’ first home purchases were before the advent of the Internet and cell phones. They depended on print advertising and the local knowledge of real estate agents to help locate the precise property. Information on comparable properties for sale and those that had already sold were a lot more difficult to determine, and the whole process functioned at a slower pace. Well that’s all changed. Get out of the way for Generation Y, the future of real estate.

Generation Y is loosely defined as a massive demographic of people born between 1977 and the mid 1990s. They are the children of the baby boomers and will make up the bulk of the United States population within 20 years. These "echo boomers," as they are sometimes called, are getting ready to be the dominate segment of home buyers and they are approaching homeownership like no generation before.

Whether you’re a real estate professional or just an individual who wants to keep up with the market and has property to sell, understanding the way Generation Y operates is essential. First of all, they’re big – between 72 and 78 million nationwide and 21 billion worldwide, not including the ever-increasing, young immigrant population. And they’re diverse, very diverse compared to their baby boomer parents. One in three are from an ethnic background, one in four is from a single parent home and three in four have working mothers. They think the Web was invented for them, and maybe they’re right.

Not only is the Web a way to keep track of friends and family, whether they’re standing in line at a movie or sitting at their desks, it is also where they get most of their information. And they get a lot of information and do a lot of research on line, so not too much can get past them. Chances are a Gen Y buyers have already virtual toured every property in the area they’re interested in and researched the taxes before they ever pickup their cell phones. E-mail is their lifeline, and since they pay close attention to incoming messages, anyone who wants to do business with them better also.

This new generation also seems to be buying younger than the baby boomers, who sort of dropped out for a while and took time to find themselves. With a little help from their baby boomer parents, Gen Y is pulling together enough money to get into that first home pretty fast.

Since the work environment they function in is very fast and demanding, their schedules are hectic and frequently without free weekends. They are on an instant gratification train and if you want to ride along with them, get comfortable with text messaging and online classified Web sites like Craigslist.

I don’t know about you, but it makes me exhausted just thinking about it. The baby boomers had their place in the sun. It’s time for them to move over or be run over by Generation Y. I don’t suppose the Age of Aquarius would mean anything to them.

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