NEWS: Millennials: “Doorbells Before Wedding Bells” and Few Regrets

By |Published On: June 3, 2019|

Mike Sorohan

May 30, 2019

For Millennials, “First comes love, then comes marriage” is being replaced by “first comes home, then comes marriage.”

Two new reports appear to bear out that sentiment. SunTrust, Atlanta, said its survey of 2,000 U.S. adults found nearly half of Millennials (ages 22-38) who have been married say they and/or their spouse owned a home before marriage (48 percent), compared to only 35 percent of Baby Boomers (ages 55-73).

“People are choosing from many different paths and reaching common life milestones at a wider age span than before, changing when they decide to purchase a home,” said Sherry Graziano, mortgage transformation officer with SunTrust.

The survey, conducted by Harris Online, reported several other trends:

Putting Down New Roots. The survey said 25 percent of unmarried women and 21 percent of unmarried men would prefer to start fresh with their significant other and sell their properties before tying the knot, then buy a new property.

Creature Comforts. When it comes to motivations for buying their first house, Millennials seem to have been driven by convenience more so than their older counterparts. According to the survey, Millennials who have owned homes were more likely than their older counterparts to cite proximity to work (29 percent, versus 18 percent of Gen X and 18 percent of Baby Boomers), schools (20 percent versus 12 percent and 10 percent) and leisure activities (16 percent versus 8 percent each) as primary motivators.

In a separate survey, Zillow, Seattle, reported younger homeowners more often say while they rushed through the buying process and have regrets about their mortgage, they are, for the most part, happy with their home purchases.

The semiannual Zillow Housing Aspirations Report, conducted by Ipsos of 10,000 homeowners and renters in 20 large metro areas across the country, reported 81% of young homeowners (between 18 and 34 years old) had at least one regret about their home, compared to 65% of those 55 years and older. Some of the biggest disparity was related to regrets about their mortgages. Millennial and Generation Z homeowners are more likely to think their mortgage payments and interest rates are too high, and have more regrets about the type of mortgage they have.

The survey noted the increased likelihood for Millennial regrets could be due to their inexperience with the home buying process. “Young owners are likely still living in their first homes, which means they went through the process of finding a lender and getting a mortgage for the first time,” the survey said. “Navigating this process for the first time may explain why they are more likely to say they rushed the home buying decision without considering all their options–29% of young homeowners regret rushing the process, compared with 12% of older buyers.”

“The American Dream of homeownership is still alive and well, and younger buyers who are building families and forging their careers must stretch their budgets to achieve it,” said Zillow Director of Economic Research Skylar Olsen. “They have long wish lists to fit their needs, and are often navigating the process of buying for the first time. While their inexperience may lead to wishing they’d done some things differently, few homeowners regret making the decision to buy instead of rent.”