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Earlier this year, data from trade body UK Finance revealed that the number of first-time buyers in the UK had reached its highest level for 12 years in 2018.
Last year mortgage providers advanced some £62 billion to first-time buyers, allowing for the completion of 370,000 newcomer mortgages, the highest number since 2006.
The research also found that the level of lending in 2018 was 4.9% higher than 2017, with the average size of a mortgage being taken out standing at just over £145,700 in December.
First-time buyers were helped by historically low mortgage rates, a competitive mortgage market and rising use of the government’s Help to Buy scheme, with many first-time buyers saving up for a deposit also relying on assistance from the Bank of Mum and Dad or turning to guarantor mortgage products such as Lloyds Ban’s Lend a Hand scheme.
Additionally, recent research from the Office for National Statistics revealed that a million more millennials are living with their parents than 15 years ago – with many of these young adults aged between 20 and 34 years old potentially staying at home to increase their chances of saving for a deposit and buying in the coming months and years.
All of the above, of course, means that millennial home buyers are likely to be a key target demographic for many sellers – particularly those selling homes in London, its outskirts and the counties surrounding the capital.
But what are these buyers likely to be prioritising?
Open plan kitchens, en-suites and smart TVs
London-based designer furniture company Arlo & Jacob surveyed millennials to discover what their dream home would look like. Although some of their most desired features might not be easy or cheap to add to a home about to be listed on the market, many of the major selling points for this demographic would prove surprisingly simple to incorporate when getting ready to sell.
In the kitchen, now often seen as the most important room in a home, there are a number of things that millennials are on the lookout for. Some 44% want a kitchen island, 40% desire smart appliances, 32% would like a coffee machine, 30% want a white kitchen, 30% are looking for an open plan kitchen/diner, 30% want patio doors, and a surprisingly high 25% would like a pantry.
If you have a home with an open plan kitchen replete with an island, patio doors and a pantry, your chances of selling to this group of buyers should be very high. Even if your home doesn’t include these features, a quick repaint of the kitchen to follow a white colour scheme – something which would barely cost anything to achieve – could make it much more appealing to Generation Y, if that’s the buying demographic you are targeting.
In the bedroom, meanwhile, 52% of millennials would like an en-suite, half want a walk-in wardrobe, 27% would like a white bedroom, 25% want a grey bedroom, 24% want a feature wall, 23% want throw pillows and 21% are looking for a four-poster bed.
While en-suites and walk-in wardrobes have become a popular luxury in recent years, if the home you’re selling doesn’t accommodate these (as will be the case with many homes), you could opt for a clean white or grey colour scheme with a well-chosen feature wall. Arlo & Jacob also recommends adding some throw pillows and potentially bringing in a four-poster bed for a luxury feel, ticking even more millennial boxes on a much smaller budget than would be required for en-suites and walk-in wardrobes.
When it comes to social spaces, millennials have a number of sought-after features in the living room, with 50% hankering after a smart TV, 42% wanting a corner sofa, 36% wanting an open fire, 30% longing for a luxury rug, 30% wanting a white living room, 30% looking for folding doors onto the patio and 27% seeking a grey living room.
Patio doors and open fires are costly to install and aren’t always feasible with every property’s layout, but there are easier ways of increasing your living room’s millennial appeal. You should focus on fostering a social atmosphere by bringing in a corner sofa and smart TV; you could also top it off with white walls and a luxury rug for a touch of added chic and class.
From the above, it’s clear that millennials are particular fans of white and grey colour schemes. This isn’t surprising, as these largely neutral/blank canvas colours give off a modern, cool, sparse, minimalist and almost Scandi-design feel, which is the sort of look prized by many trendy young professionals.
Work with an experienced agent to sell your home
It is, of course, never wise to restrict yourself to one demographic alone, but millennials are making up an increasingly large chunk of the UK’s pool of buyers – as such, it could pay to tailor your home towards this group.
You may also live in an area where there are lots of young professionals and young families, which means the chances of you selling to a millennial are much higher. If you are a second stepper looking to offload your first starter home, or a buy-to-let investor offloading one of your smaller properties, it’s highly likely that millennials could be your target market.
With this in mind, the above research about what millennial buyers really want is highly useful, and you may want to make some additions to your home to make it more Generation Y-friendly.
This is only one bit of research, and not every millennial wants the same thing, but generally speaking contemporary, smart, stylish, neutral homes – and properties with certain standout features – will have particular appeal.
To find out more about the services we offer in North London, East London, Hertfordshire, Essex and the surrounding areas, you can contact your local Kings Group branch today.
In addition, we offer a free instant online valuation tool to allow you to see how much your home could be worth on the current market.