Desiring more space and turning cash into assets are time-honored reasons to buy a home -- and today's younger purchasers are in tune with those trends. But, based on a survey this year, another top desire may be a bit of a fetch.
One in three millennials ages 18 to 36 who purchased their first house said finding a better space or yard for a dog influenced their property-buying decision, according to the online Harris Poll on behalf of SunTrust Mortgage. Dogs were among the top three "motivators" for the initial buyers and showed up on more responses than marriage or upcoming marriage, at 25 percent, or the birth or expected birth of a child, 19 percent, said the mortgage company a division of Atlanta-based SunTrust Banks, Inc.
The only categories that topped their dog's interests were the desire for more living space, 66 percent, and chance to build equity -- a tangible ownership stake, at 36 percent.
“Millennials have strong bonds with their dogs, so it makes sense that their furry family members are driving home-buying decisions,” said Dorinda Smith, SunTrust Mortgage President and CEO. “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.”
Moreover, 42 percent of late teen to mid-30 somethings who haven't acquired a home list a pet dog – or desire for one – as a key factor in buying a house at some point.
According to SunTrust Mortgage, that suggests dogs will also influence purchase decisions of potential first-time homebuyers.
"Millennials are trending toward homeownership," Smith says. "Demand among millennial-aged, first-time homebuyers is robust, and we expect them to continue adding strength to the housing market."
The summer survey involved 412 U.S. adults aged 18-36 including 248 who bought their first home and 135 who have not purchased one, according to SunTrust Mortgage.
Even though millennials look for space for their dogs, they can reside in tight quarters relatively trouble free with certain types.
"Living in a small space doesn't mean that you have to ditch your dreams of owning a dog. By choosing the right breed that fits your space and your lifestyle, you will definitely be able to find the perfect pup," according to TWorldy.com, a pet-related blog site.
The online guide's seven top picks for small homes are typically tiny or inert pets, including:
- Yorkshire Terrier. "Cute, cuddly and compact – Yorkies are the ideal apartment dog." The pets weigh 6-7 pounds and don't take up much space. "They are fairly quiet, friendly, and adapt to new people, situations, and pets. Yorkies do crave attention, but, if you give them lots of love, they will happy," the blog says.
- English Bulldog. "This calm dog would much rather lie around on the coach than hang out at the dog park," according to TWorldy.com. "This sturdy guy is between 12-16 inches, so he fits well in smaller spaces."
- Shih Tzu. "As long as you don’t mind grooming her long hair, and showing her lots of love, she’ll be content," the blog points out. "Weighing between 10 and 16 pounds and standing less than 10 inches tall, she is a small, sweet, package that is comfortable in small places."
- Cavalier King Charles Cocker Spaniel. The "calm, adaptable" dog weighs between 13 and 18 pounds. "Friendly and easy-going, the Cavalier King Charles will be best friends with the other tenants and dogs in your building."
- Pug. "Its small size and need for small amounts of exercise (short daily walks will do just fine) make this sweet girl perfect for apartment living," the site notes.
- Bichon Frise. "Fancy up your home with this cute little French pooch," TWorldy.com points out. The dog weighs 7-12 pounds and "probably will only bark if there is someone at the door." They do have energy, so frequent walks or trips to the dog park are important.
- Great Dane. "Yes, you read that right," the blog quips. "Even though this guy is pretty big (about 100-200 lbs. and 25-29 inches), he is almost as lazy as he is large."