Millenials get a bad rap these days (lazy, entitled, industry killer). But for all of the misconceptions, one trend rings true: they make up the largest segment of the current home buying market at a whopping 42%. But what’s motivating these home buying decisions is even more surprising.

Millennials’ Home Buying Philosophy

As a result of coming of age during the digital revolution and the economic recession, this generation approaches home buying with technological know-how as well as caution. Like generations before them, older Millenials consider purchasing a home a major financial investment. But younger Millenials are more likely to see their home as a reflection of themselves and their values rather than primarily as a financial investment. But all Millenials take a less traditional approach to the home buying process, placing more emphasis on the use of online tools, such as reviews of agents and lenders.

Urban vs. Suburban

A common myth exists that all Millenials want to live in trendy, urban neighborhoods. The fact of the matter is that almost half of Millienial buyers purchase homes in suburban communities, with more than half (54%) living in communities that feature shared amenities.

More Space for Their Dogs

But what’s driving Millenials from renting to buying? Marriage, children? Not necessarily. A recent survey on behalf of SunTrust Mortgage revealed that a third of Millenials (33%) who have already purchased their first home agree that having a better space or a yard for their dog influenced their home purchase decision. In fact, dogs were among the top three motivations for first-time home owners, cited by more survey participants that marriage/upcoming marriage (25%) or the birth/expected birth of a child (19%). Among those Millenials who have never bought a home, 42% of those surveyed said that their dog or desire to adopt a dog is a key motivation to begin the search to buy a home of their own.  Additionally, many rentals have breed or weight restrictions that rule out particular dogs, something which also drives many Millenials into the buying market.