Millennials Turn To Their Parents To Get On The Property Ladder To Buy Fixer Uppers

While millennials’ taste is progressive, their ability to purchase a home is not.

By Jeff Vasishta August 5, 2016
Credit: Rob Bye

Millennials, the US demographic born between 1982 and 1997 now make up a quarter of the US population. And they are watching TV. Specifically home improvement shows and they want what they see. That means combining the high plains with the hi-tech, reclaimed wood with recessed LED lights, barn doors with a barn storming shower multi-colored light display. It has a name – rustic tech chic, popularized on HGTV shows like Fixer Upper and the Property Brothers. They’re also flipping the script on the claustrophobic cubby holes of their parents’ living rooms and kitchens in favor of multi-functional open and airy rooms ready made for slow motion ads with Labrador puppies and smiling kids doing cartwheels.

Related: Millennials, If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them…at the Lake House?

“Farmhouse sinks and mix-and-match faucet handles were everywhere at the Kitchen & Bath show,” told Stacy DeBroff, a brand strategist and chief executive of Influence Central in Boston, to the Washington Post. “One company at the intersection of rustic style and innovation is Stikwood, which takes recycled wood and turns it into peel-and-stick natural wood siding.”

Julia Walter, showroom manager at Boffi Georgetown, an Italian luxury kitchen and bath designer, said Boffi displays a rustic wood shelf with a modern shape, a metal sink below and a big mirror above it.

“It’s definitely a trend to combine reclaimed wood with a contemporary steel frame,” Walter said. “It’s an interesting play between old and new. People like contemporary lines, but they want the warmth of bringing in an older element into their home, especially the kitchen where people have an emotional connection with their childhood kitchen.”

While millennials’ taste is progressive, their ability to purchase a home is not. Student loans and the trauma of living through the financial collapse of 2008 have given many many a dose of analysis paralysis when it comes to deciding to mortgage away the rest of their lives. Thus the trend for tiny homes and moving back in with their parents in a bid to save their way out of debt.

For the first time on record, living with parents is now the most common arrangement for people ages 18 to 34, an analysis of census data by the Pew Research Center has found.

Nearly one-third of millennials live with their parents, slightly more than the proportion who live with a spouse or partner. It’s the first time that living at home has outpaced living with a spouse for this age group since such record-keeping began in 1880.

Particularly hard hit are are young men. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 5.7 percent of men aged 25 to 34 are unemployed. Pew research data shows that 36 percent of older millennials without jobs live with their parents, compared with 18 percent of employed men.”

Whether millennials are begging their parents for money to help them buy their first houses or their parents are giving them cash and begging to leave, a survey from Bank of America revealed that 66 percent of millennials expect some sort of help from their parents. Of that percentage, the survey also showed that 19 percent expect their parents to help financially to help fix up and furnish their houses. However, transforming their new homes into rustic-chic palaces, just like the ones on TV, is where the millennials are happy to go it alone.

Jeff Vasishta



Jeff is a writer, husband and father but not necessarily in that order. As a music journalist he counts Prince, Beyonce and Quincy Jones amongst those he’s interviewed. He's also owned and flipped homes in Brooklyn, NJ, CT and PA.

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