Written by Kimi Etter
More than 1 in 10 Americans moved in the past year. This was primarily due to effects of the pandemic on the workforce. There was a massive shift in family priorities and a new flexibility while working remotely. For some, the pandemic resulted the loss of jobs which created an open door to relocating. This contributed to the rise in homebuying. Surprisingly, Millennials led all generations in homebuying last year. The Millennial homeownership rate has climbed to 47.9%. So, why the shift from renting to homebuying? Turns out that homebuying for Millennials is less about FICO and more about Fido.
Millennials represent the biggest share of pet owners in the United States. Of the many Millennials who purchased a home in the past year, 89% own a pet. This correlation between pets and homeownership is propelled by the difficulty to accommodate pets in the rental market. Pet rent and a lack of pet friendly areas are often a burden that pet owners have to bear. But the type of pets allowed add to the struggle when renting. A 2015 survey found that 20% of rentals allowed cats and 18% allows small dogs. Sadly, for dogs over 40lbs, only 4% of listings allowed larger dogs. Don’t even get me started on the breed restrictions! 89% of owners would not give up their fur-baby because of housing restrictions or limitations.
If you can’t find a landlord to accept Fido, buy him a house.
Having a pet trumped marriage and children as the main reason for Millennial home purchases. Millennials are so in love with their pets that they are often putting their furry companion’s needs at the top of their list when shopping for a home. If the home doesn’t work for the dog, the family often is not interested. Home sellers (and landlords) have noticed this trend and realized that they can get more money out of a property by considering the needs of a pet. According to a Realtor.com survey, 79% of dog owners who closed on a property said they would pass up an otherwise perfect home if it did not meet the needs of their dogs.
Zillow, a real estate company, partnered up with an online marketplace for pet care company named Rover to conduct a survey on the moving decisions among dog owners. Since March 2020, 24% of dog owners have moved into a new home. 62% of dog owners who did not move stated that they would consider moving to a new home to better accommodate their dog.
Dog owners are so focused on their fur-children that they are willing to spend more on purchasing a home to live in a place with pet-friendly features. In the Zillow/Rover study, they found that:
• Nearly half (40%) of dog owners are willing to pay $5,000 more when purchasing a home to have dog-friendly features.
• 26% are willing to pay $10,000 more
• 12% are willing to pay $25,000 more
• 10% are willing to pay $50,000 more
• 12% said money is no object when it comes to accommodating their dog’s needs.
Dog owners often seek homes with fenced yards, nearby walking trails or running trails, dog runs, dog doors, or community pet parks. Outdoor space, more specifically a yard, takes the number one spot on a dog owner’s home wish list. In fact, listings mentioning dog-friendly amenities sell faster! Homes sold 5 days faster than expected when the listing mentioned a fenced yard. Listings that had a dog run sold 4 days faster. Better yet, listings that mentioned dog houses were associated with a 3% higher than expected sales price.
For dog owners, sometimes less is more. Some dog owners purchase homes without certain things such as stairs, which make accessing the whole house difficult for senior dogs or dog breeds that are prone to hip dysplasia. Other owners prefer homes without carpet or certain flooring that can fall victim to paws.
Just because a Millennial doesn’t have a dog, doesn’t mean they don’t want one. 42% of Millennials claimed that future plans to bring a canine companion into their life and site this desire as a large influence in their homebuying decisions.
The buck doesn’t stop there. Once a Millennial purchases a home, they often put in a large amount of effort and money to upgrade their pet needs. These upgrades often include higher fences, pee grass, and dog doors. 52% of homeowners completed renovation projects to make their property more pet friendly.
This year, people spent more time with their pet than the years prior. For some, their pet was their only interaction during quarantine and helped them cope during the lockdown. Our emotional bond with our pets has only strengthened since then. Dogs are truly a part of the family, so it makes complete sense that they factor heavily into our moving decisions. In most cases, the dog is the catalyst for them.