2021 Millennial Home Buying Statistics & Trends

Claudia Guthrie
Written by Claudia Guthrie
Updated May 18, 2021
young couple sitting on couch with laptop
Photo: Jake Jakab/ADDICTIVE STOCK - Adobe Stock

Angi surveyed 1,000 adults between ages 25 and 39 who bought homes during the pandemic on COVID-19's impact, their shared priorities, and overall millennial home buying trends

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything about how we live—the way we see friends and family, how we grocery shop, and, perhaps most of all, the way we think about home. With the shift to at-home work, school, and happy hours, there’s a new emphasis on making our space fit our needs. For many, particularly millennials, this culminated in taking a big leap: buying a house.

What Percentage of Home Buyers Are Millennials?

In 2020, millennials made up the largest share of home buyers, at 37%, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). This number is consistent with 2019, when millennials were 38% of all home buyers.

  • Older millennials (ages 31 to 40) were 23% of all home buyers. Younger millennials made up 14%. (NAR)

  • 31% of buyers were first-time home buyers (NAR)

COVID-19 Impacts on Millennial Home Buying

Though the number of millennials buying homes remained steady over the past two years, the reasons for doing so were drastically impacted by COVID-19.

  • 70% of millennials surveyed said the pandemic played a role in their decision to buy a new home. 27% said it was the primary factor in their decision. 

  • The onset of the pandemic generated the biggest surge, with 42% of millennials buying last spring or summer, followed by 34% in fall and winter, and 24% recently/still pending.

  • 56.9% cited an increased desire for space impacted their decision to buy a house, with 53.9% seeking “peace and quiet.”

As we traded morning commutes for logging onto Zoom, the work-from-home lifestyle became the new norm. Now, many workers don’t want to go back to the office—and their home buying habits show it. 

More than half of millennials surveyed moved to a different county or state since the pandemic shut down office life. According to another survey by Redfin, more than 50% of New York, Seattle, San Francisco, and Boston residents would move out of the city if remote work is made permanent.

  • Family considerations were cited as the top primary factor for millennials beginning their home search, at 19%. The birth of a child (14%) and a marriage or engagement (12%) were also mentioned.

  • 50.7% of millennials moved out of the county or state. Of those, 17% “are hoping their employers let them work remotely” and 15.58% changed jobs because previous employers wouldn’t let them do so.

  • Overall, 32.78% of millennials chose their desired location over their job.

chart displaying how the move affected a millennial's job, whether by working remotely, they were laid off, or found a new job.

Millennial home buying statistics show subtle differences between men and women buyers.

  • Larger homes were more of a priority for men (32.55%) than for women (25.51%).

  • Women prioritized affordability, with 34.9% saying it was important over 26.47% of men.

  • 73.88% of women said they were likely to do some renovations themselves, while only 68.63% of men said the same.

Millennial Home Buyers Face Fierce Competition

In spring 2021, median single-family home prices hit $335,000, a historic high, according to NAR. And, as of March 2021, the average time a home is on the market is a mere 18 days. The housing market is booming—and millennials are feeling the stress.

  • 42% of home buyers spent six months or longer searching for a home.

  • 68% visited more than 10 homes, 38% visited more than 20 homes, and 19% visited more than 30 homes.

  • 49% of millennials said the housing market was more competitive than they expected, and 42% of buyers in expensive markets reported they experienced feelings of anxiety.

  • Home buyers had to settle for more renovations than intended. 56% bought a home needing renovations, while only 42% had planned to.

  • 78% of buyers put in multiple offers before reaching a deal. More than half (51%) had to place at least four offers. 15% made more than 10 offers.

  • 33% paid over asking price. 35% had to go over budget.

chart displaying amount of people who went over, under, or on budget for their home remodeling project.

Millennials Are Thinking Long-Term

Millennials aren’t exactly trying to live out any Flip or Flop fantasies. Though nearly one-third are first-time buyers, they’re looking to put down roots—not turn a profit through renovations and upgrades. 

  • 33% of millennials said they intend to own their home forever or until retirement.

  • 21% plan to own their new home for 10–20 years.

Millennials Aren’t Afraid to Roll Up Their Sleeves

That said, millennials won’t hesitate about tearing down a wall or installing new cabinets. Nearly half of those surveyed intended to buy a home needing minor or major renovations, with more than half actually doing so. Dream home, here they come!

  • Of those surveyed, 42% intended to buy a home needing renovations. In reality, over half (56%) actually did.

  • 28% said they bought a home needing major renovations.

  • 34%–28% of those who bought a home in the most expensive markets were especially likely to have bought a home needing major renovations.

  • 44% will spend $50,000 or more on renovations. An additional 69% have renovation budgets over $25,000, and 22% have budgets over $100,000.

  • 31% of millennials will take over 10 days off work for their renovation projects.

  • Of the 70% of homeowners who are hiring pros to renovate, the majority (78%) are using online platforms to find workers. Satisfaction is high, with 64% rating their service pros as “excellent” or “good.”

chart displaying how move-in ready, or how many renovations were needed, for recently bought homes.

But Renovations Bring Their Own Set of Challenges

If you’ve ever undertaken a big project, you know headaches will undoubtedly arise. Millennials are discovering that for themselves, and reported a number of reno-linked challenges.

  • 46% have already gone over budget on renovations, with 22% of respondents more than 20% over budget in year one.

  • 88% of millennial home buyers have had or expect to have difficulty hiring home service pros.

  • 37% have had or expect to have difficulty with COVID-19 safety cost increases and material shortages.

  • The most common difficulties millennials face include: difficulty communicating with pros (29%), COVID-19 safety cost increases (37%), higher-than-anticipated costs (35%), scheduling challenges (36%), material or product shortages (37%), and labor shortages (31%).

If you’re looking to start your own reno, it’s easy to find pros near you on the Angi app. Download it in the app store or get it on Google Play.