As America’s largest and youngest adult generation, Millennials are the fastest growing segment of the home buying population today and that factor has caught the attention of Zillow Group, which is positioning itself to capture a bigger slice of the pie with the launch of RealEstate.com, a new consumer real estate portal designed to cater to the Millennials’ love affair with technology and connectivity.
According to a press release from Zillow Group, the new web portal will source listings directly from brokerages, franchises and MLSs and is “designed for millennial homebuyers.” Real estate agents will receive the same services they currently have on Zillow and Trulia.
The company currently operates several real estate brands, including Trulia, StreetEasy, HotPads and Naked Apartments. The new URL was acquired as part of Zillow’s acquisition of Trulia.
In a statement, Jeremy Wacksman, chief marketing officer at Zillow Group, explained that the company has invested a lot of time in researching the millennial home buyer.
“We know from our own research they are driving the housing market as half of home buyers in the U.S. are under 36 years old,” he pointed out. “This represents a huge opportunity for agents to connect with this growing audience of buyers. RealEstate.com is designed with the millennial shopper in mind and will provide another way for them to connect with an agent.”
More details about other aspects of the website, including the customer experience, may be released at the launch, according to the company.
According to the Zillow Group, Millennials, those age 18 to 34, are becoming a bigger factor in today’s housing market. They make up the largest group of home buyers today at 42 percent. They also rely on technology during the real estate process, according to the company’s 2016 Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report.
In a bit of good news for real estate professionals, the report indicates that 70 percent of Millennials say they use an agent in their home search. They are more likely to find that person online and evaluate them using online resources.
Further proof that in the long-term may validate Zillow’s move: According to the National Association of Realtors, millennial buyers now make up the largest number of first-time homebuyers at 64 percent.
Student loan debt may have slowed some Millennials from entering the real estate market, but as those bills are paid off many are taking the leap, according to the NAR survey.
Millennials were the most likely to cite student loans as the source of debt that prevented them from saving for a home.
Millennials also are taking the process seriously, which also could be seen as another positive signal for the Zillow Group.
Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, noted that millennial buyers, at 85 percent, were the most likely generation to view their home purchase as a good financial investment.
“These strong feelings bode well for even greater demand in the future as more Millennials settle down and begin raising families,” he said.
NAR’s survey also offers similar findings, indicating that online and digital technology usage during the home search has increased in recent years.
While Millennials and Gen X buyers are most likely to conduct their home search online, they also are the most likely to buy or sell their home using a real estate agent, at 92 percent and 88 percent respectively.