Millennials have a much different priority for purchasing their first home these days – it’s not their spouse. It’s not for future kids. It’s their dogs.
Of the members of this age group (18-36 years old) currently purchasing homes, 19 percent cited the birth of a child as their main priority, 25 percent cited marriage, and 33 percent cited dog ownership.
According to a SunTrust Mortgage survey, house hunters are looking for dog-friendly features such as a fenced in backyard and dog-friendly neighborhoods.
The only factors that beat out dogs’ needs when looking at homes were building equity (36 percent) and a desire for more living space (66 percent).
According to the survey, 42 percent of Millennials who were looking at buying their first home cited that their dog, or the desire to own one, would be a key factor in their decision to stop renting and become a home owner.
People may be surprised at this statistic, but according to Rachel Wingard, it shows maturity and practicality among Millennials.
She points out that dog ownership is taking on the care of another living creature. She also makes a point that it’s difficult to think about children if you don’t have them, and that home ownership isn’t necessarily what makes marriage more plausible.
Another factor in this trend is the fact that rental apartments are more restrictive on pet ownership. Owning a home affords one the freedom to own whatever pets they choose (within the confines of local laws).
It is also more difficult to keep a dog in an apartment; the owner must walk the dog constantly instead of just being able to let it out to run in a fenced yard. This effort is exacerbated for those living in high rises or in big cities.
Conveniently, many of the features sought by dog owners also work out for those seeking to have children in the future, for example big back yard or close proximity to parks.
60 percent of first-time home buyers are Millennials. SunTrust officials anticipate that within the next five years, 80 million more Millennials will join in on the search for a home.
This is great news for dogs, as it means many more of them will be able to find happy homes with happy homeowners in the very near future.