Generation Y, the Millennials, and Echo Boomers refer to individuals between the ages of 17 and 31, and they are 62 million strong in the U.S. alone, reports the National Association of Realtors in a recent news release. Echo Boomers represent significant buying power, according to the 2011 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Buyers aged 18 – 34 made up about one-third of all recent home purchases.
What makes this generation unique? The Millennials or Echo Boomers are predominantly children of the baby boomers. Authors William Strauss and Neil Howe, developers of generational theory, describe the Millennials as those individuals born between 1982 and 2001. Start and end dates can vary among sociologists, but what’s clear is that this generation is technologically well connected to their world, racially and ethnically diverse, and better educated than their parents.
As Baby Boomers age and transition to alternative housing options, Millennials will begin to impact the market over the next two decades, says NAR economist Selma Hepp. The demand for rental housing may be up among this group, but it won’t last, she observes. Millennials are currently challenged by the demands of work, student loans, and other debt. As the economy improves and household formation begins, this generation’s purchasing power will grow and influence the housing market.