Online real estate marketplace Zillow has launched RealEstate.com, a website aimed at millennials and first-time home buyers, HousingWire reported. The company announced the website in March and took it live May 2.
Aggregating for-sale homes from listing services, real estate brokerages and franchisors, the new site will allow shoppers to browse using their preferred down payment amount and monthly mortgage as search criteria.
The website provides an “all-in monthly price” for each result, helping educate first-time buyers about the many costs of homeownership beyond what a typical listing shows. This approach puts home expenses into a monthly timeframe similar to renting, noted GeekWire.
Many millennials came of age during and immediately after the Great Recession, when headlines raged about subprime mortgages, underwater homes and foreclosures. This, combined with their own constrained finances due to slow wage growth and high student loan debt, has likely made some wary of wading into homeownership.
A study last year by Realtor.com found the major factors holding back first-time buyers were concerns about down payments and finding a house that fit their budget.
A Freddie Mac report last month found that while renters are feeling more confident about their finances, a larger percentage are planning to keep renting for now than said the same last September. And a recent TransUnion survey revealed that 42% of millennials indicated they would delay homebuying due to the Fed's interest rate hike in 2016. (That was followed by another rate increase in March 2017.)
The new Zillow website addresses some of these concerns and behaviors by helping to educate first-time buyers about all costs associated with homeownership upfront during their search process.
RealEstate.com also appeals to millennials’ tech usage. A survey by the National Association of Realtors found that 99% of millennials used the internet for home searches last year.