Mile-high millennials—What the next generation of homebuyers means for builders

Colorado, particularly Denver, is especially attractive to millennials. Are builders ready to serve this market of homebuyers?
There are many reasons why Colorado home builders should stay engaged with millennials.

I find that having the right perspective of a problem is the critical aspect of successfully understanding and solving it.

Millennials seem to confound many business people. After an opportunity to have a millennial intern in 2014, my approach to them changed. Fundamentally, the millennial homebuyer is just like boomer homebuyers were when they started in the workforce, and the millennials were being born. In fact, many of us are parents, aunts or uncles to millennials who have grown up and are now paying their own bills (most of the time). Though at times we feel they are light-years away from us, the essence of a millennial is much easier to comprehend than it first appears.

[Related: What’s different about millennial homebuyers?]

However, reader beware—if you mess up early with a millennial, you might not get a second chance.

Get perspective on millennials

There are many reasons why Colorado home builders should stay engaged with millennials.

Per, Colorado is the go-to state for this cohort, and Denver is on the zip code leader board with four zip codes in the top 20 fastest growing locales in the nation.

What used to matter in home buying still matters: location, career stability, state of relationships, debt to income concerns, value and view of being a home owner. Millennials have added a new factor to the home buying decision, though—is it still “cool” to own a home?

Some of our boomer experiences still ring true for millennials. Assistance in buying the first home is still needed and often provided by loving parents and relatives. A new baby brings on the reality of practical living that we all face as we come of age. Communication is still essential to have effective marketing and sales results.

But what’s different about the 30-year-olds of today and many of the baby boomers when they started to consider buying their first home?

First, most of us never experienced the devastating loss of a family home or feared the loss of a home at the level this group did when they were young. The financial crisis and housing crash had a huge influence on their sense of security. Just like the folks who saved everything after suffering the Great Depression or World War II, the sense of fear and lack of security caused by direct experience of such an event cannot be underestimated.

For millennials, many college graduates could not find stable jobs following the financial crisis, and had to endure living at home until 2012 or later.

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