The Power of Pets on Millennial Homeownership

Posted by: Jeff Fromm

While perhaps delayed in reaching the significant adulthood milestones set by previous generations, Millennials are now ready to take on the “American Dream.” A major pillar of this dream? Homeownership.

Based on findings from a study by Bank of the West, 60 percent of Millennials believe that owning a home is one of the top four elements in their version of the American Dream. With 53 percent of this generation already homeowners and 88 percent with a home on their wish list, according to Qualtrics, this points to an opportunity for brands in multiple sectors, including real estate and financial services. However, if marketers stop at the surface level and focus on only the traditional house-buying influences, such as spouses and children, they would be overlooking perhaps the most significant factor in Millennial home choices today: pets.

A recent survey by SunTrust Mortgage found that 33 percent of Millennials were influenced more by dogs than marriage or children when buying their first home. For Millennials who have yet to buy, 42 percent said their dog or their desire to have a pet would impact their future home-buying decisions. The desire for more space and the ability to build equity were the only factors that were ranked higher for Millennials looking to purchase a home than space for a pet.

Why are these furry friends so influential? To the Millennial generation, pets are less like animals and more like children. As such, they want the best for them and that means a home that allows them plenty of room to roam and make it their own.

“Millennials have strong bonds with their dogs, so it makes sense that their furry family members are driving home-buying decisions,” said Dorina Smith, SunTrust Mortgage president and CEO, in a press release. “For those with dogs, renting can be more expensive and a hassle; homeownership can take some of the stress off by providing a better living situation.”

The marketing takeaway?

Don’t forget Fido when marketing to Millennial homebuyers.

About Jeff Fromm

Although not a Millennial as defined by his age, Jeff Fromm is the Millennial Marketing Guy. Jeff is President of FutureCast, a marketing consultancy that specializes in Millennial trends, and is a contributing writer at...See Jeff's full bio.