Real Estate News

Puppies over parenting: First-timers want dog-friendly homes

Published: 31 Jul 2017

Many pair first-time homebuying with family planning, and recent data showed the first addition to the house could be a dog bed instead of a cradle. According to a Harris Poll on behalf of SunTrust Mortgage, 33 percent of millennials purchasing first homes want better space or a yard for their dogs to run around. That share trumped marriage (25 percent) and the birth of a child (19 percent).

While finding Fido a place to call his own mattered, the top focus didn't go to the dogs. The main first-time homebuying reason among Americans aged 18 to 36 was more space in general. In fact, 66 percent sought out additional room. A desire to build equity took the list's No. 2 spot.

What's the deal with millennials and pets?
Pets represent a staple in American families. So why do furry friends drive homebuying must-haves among millennials in particular?

For starters, this generation represents the largest one for pet ownership, as findings from the latest American Pet Products Association's National Pet Owner Survey showed. Specifically, millennials account for 35 percent of the 84.6 million pet-owning households in the U.S.

One reason behind this push is a trend of delayed marriage and family expansion compared to older generations, according to Purina. Not only do pets fulfill the age-old role of practice for parenting, but they also give millennials a sense of family on the road to enough financial stability to feel comfortable having children.

Moreover, pets constitute a part of millennial culture. Whether you're a cat or dog owner has grown into more than a preference, transforming into an identity centerpiece for social media and friendships. For those who love dogs, their pets' role in their lives can reflect through their home choices.

"Millennials have strong bonds with their dogs, so it makes sense that their furry family members are driving home-buying decisions," Dorinda Smith, SunTrust Mortgage President and CEO, said in a press release.

How much will Mrs. Fluffles influence homebuying?
The SunTrust data indicated more than a trend for current dog owners. Millennials who expect to have a dog in the future have also considered finding a home with enough room for Pups McKenzie to roam.

"For those with dogs, renting can be more expensive and a hassle; home ownership takes some of the stress off by providing a better living situation," Smith continued.

Between weight and dog type restrictions and pet rent or annual fees for renting, homeownership can alleviate some headaches. Given the SunTrust data revealed 42 percent of millennials who have never owned a home said a dog or interest in owning one is a driver for purchasing a house, this trend is one to watch.