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Millennials Buy Mortgages – But They Want Different Things Than Mom and Dad

You’ve heard it on good authority that mortgage lending is a key to institutional profitability this year. So, why is it still so hard for financial institutions to court millennial home buyers? The answer may lie in the approach. Below are four big differences between the millennial homebuyer and what boomers wanted at the same age nearly 30 years ago.

The Lending Experience Starts and Ends Online

Consider this:

So, why wouldn’t the loan shopping process also remain online for this demographic?

Institutions looking to target this demographic should consider digital display and other online marketing initiatives to get offers in front of millennial customers – on the devices and channels they actually use.

The House is for the (Fur) Kids

While Boomer-buyers may have bought a home to accommodate the 3.5 kid ideal, when millennials do buy, it’s often for their dogs. 33% of millennial buyers admitted to buying a home because of their dogs and a desire for a backyard. This compares with the 25 percent and 19 percent (respectively) of millennials who moved because of more traditional life milestones like marriage and the birth of a child.

They’re Older

The average age of the first-time homeowner (as well as the age of first-time marriage) now hovers around 32. But late marriage isn’t the only reason for lower millennial home purchases. Research finds that if the marriage rate were the same in 2018 as it was in 1990 then home ownership rates would be 5 percentage points higher; instead, todays buyers are more fiscally and racially diverse.

Institutions should consider this when implementing marketing campaigns. Tailored, targeted campaigns that truly speak to each segment may provide better ROMI than running the same ad and message for all consumer groups.

Bear in mind that most millennials (born 1984 – 2000) aren’t even in their 30’s yet. Financial institutions looking to court the millennial buyer should target “older” millennials – those born before 1990. Yes, it’s a thing.

Ownership Isn’t About “Keeping up with the Joneses”

According to research from SunTrust, over half of millennial home buyers state having a place of their own as primary reason for purchase.

In fact, many millennials choose to buy when it’s the smarter money move – when owning is cheaper than renting.

Keep in mind that many millennials also are at a financial disadvantage due to the double hit of student loan debt and stagnant wages. Rather than keeping up with the Joneses, many millennials would simply like the ability to afford homeownership – and the financial boost that often comes with it; 36% state building equity as a main reason to buy a home.

Is your financial institution guilty of selling a “one size fits all” mortgage lending experience to a generation that revels in bespoke experiences? If so, it may be time to reevaluate your approach.

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Harland Clarke Corp. is a leading provider of best-in-class integrated payment solutions and marketing services, serving multiple industries including financial services, retail, healthcare, insurance, and telecommunications.

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