For many businesses, millennials are a difficult generation to pin down. The group, composed of people aged 20-35, is seemingly defined by buzzwords: Innovative. Tech-savvy. Self-motivated. Transient. They’re notorious for their deviation from “traditional” lifestyles, leaving companies everywhere stumped about how to best serve them.
In Baltimore, however, millennials are proving the stereotypes wrong: They’re buying homes on the regular—and Charm City realtors are ready to help.
“The market is picking up,” said Scott Lederer, broker and Maryland regional president of Berkshire Hathaway. “Millennials are finding that now is a very good time for them to buy. The price of rent has climbed to the point that owning a home is more logical than renting, interest rates are low … the affordability index is very high right now.”
Lederer said that the business is flourishing, particularly in Berkshire Hathaway’s downtown offices, which serve entertainment-heavy neighborhoods such as Federal Hill, Fells Point and Canton.
“Of course, they’re very interested in being near areas where they can walk to restaurants and bars,” he said, “and the price range is lower in the city than in the metro area and surrounding counties.”
According to Joan Solomon, office manager of Long & Foster’s Lake Roland office, however, the generation isn’t just sticking to the city center.
“They’re buying [homes] everywhere,” she said. “It’s about 50/50. They’re certainly buying town houses and row homes in the city, but they’re also getting nice individual homes in nice neighborhoods in about the same price range.”
That range? Between $200-300,000, according to Solomon.
“Of the young millennial couples who are buying, both partners are generally working, meaning they have much more price flexibility,” she said.
The market, too, is becoming more conducive to first-time home buying.
“People can afford to buy a home on a lower salary than historically was possible,” said Lederer. “Lenders are loosening up a little on their loan criteria, mortgage rates are good and the market is only promising to get better.”
With so many reasons to buy now, we may see more and more millennials relocating to Baltimore, which would seem to be a textbook case of putting oneself in the right place at the right time.
“Millennials are smart,” says Anne Henslee of Henslee Conway Real Estate Brokerage, Inc. “We as realtors can help point them in the right direction. But they know the value of the dollar. And this year will be continue to be a great time for them to take advantage of all of these perks—the incentives, the low-interest loans, the high inventory. In Baltimore, we have a market that is more affordable compared to certain neighbors like D.C. Millennials are savvy commuters—they don’t mind hopping on a train.”