San Francisco-Area Millennials Place Homeownership Above Other Life Priorities

Many San Franciscans Planning First Home Purchase, but Persistent Homebuying Myths Hold Back Others

Wednesday, October 10, 2018 9:00 am EDT

San Francisco’s millennials are straying from the norm as they redefine life’s priorities, according to the latest Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report. Eighty-three percent of local millennials say owning a home is a top priority, more than being able to retire (73 percent) and far outranking getting married (47 percent) and having children (42 percent).

The report, which explores the attitudes, preferences, and behaviors of the modern homebuyer, also finds that many local millennials equate homeownership with personal (57 percent) and financial (49 percent) success. Prospective millennial buyers in San Francisco also associate purchasing a home with maturity (47 percent), adulthood (42 percent) and independence (30 percent).

Additional San Francisco-specific highlights from the report include:

Renter’s reservations: a reality check on common homebuying myths

  • Local renters in San Francisco are torn on the “own vs. rent” debate, with 45 percent believing that renting long-term will be more expensive than buying a home. The other 55 percent say it will be just as or less expensive than owning.
  • Yet, 73 percent believe their rent will continue to rise every year or every other year. And 47 percent pay more than 30 percent of their income in rent each month.
  • When asked what they dislike about renting, San Franciscans (54 percent) are more likely than their national counterparts (52 percent) to dislike rising rental costs. They’re also more likely to feel like they’re throwing money away (51 percent vs. 49 percent).


Top renter misconceptions in San Francisco include:

  • Forty-three percent believe that 20 percent down is required to buy a home.
  • Nearly the same number (44 percent) believe they must pay private mortgage insurance if they don’t put 20 percent down.
  • More than one-quarter believe they need to have a “perfect” credit score to be considered for a mortgage.


The five Ws of homebuying: Prospective buyers in San Francisco are being purposeful in their homebuying planning

  • Who: While 63 percent of first-time local buyers plan to buy with a spouse or partner, others are venturing out on their own, as 33 percent say they plan to purchase their first home solo.

  • What: When thinking about their first home, buyers in San Francisco prefer:

- A forever home (51 percent) vs. a starter home (49 percent).

- More square footage (52 percent) vs. a large backyard (48 percent).

- A modern layout (62 percent) vs. a home with “good bones” (38 percent).

- Updated appliances (71 percent) vs. an updated exterior (29 percent).

  • Where: 40 percent are looking to stay in the San Francisco area, but 47 percent plan to buy elsewhere.

  • When: 31 percent of local residents plan to buy in the next two years, and 63 percent say saving for a down payment is a financial priority.

  • Why: San Franciscans say having enough money saved (55 percent) and a higher salary (42 percent) are their top motivations to buy for the first time.

To learn more about the Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report, click here.


Bank of America Consumer Lending
Bank of America’s Consumer Lending unit includes First Mortgage, Home Equity, Consumer Vehicle Lending and residential real estate lending for our Global Wealth and Investment Management business units. Each business is focused on delivering a distinctive and consistent client experience through competitive product offerings, quality loan production, choice of multiple connection and delivery methods, and operational excellence based on a client’s unique attributes and relationship with us.

About the Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report
Convergys Analytics conducted an online survey on behalf of Bank of America between January 16 and February 2, 2018. Convergys surveyed a national sample of 2,000 adults age 18+ who currently own a home or plan to in the future. In addition, an augment was conducted to reach 300 adults in seven local markets: Austin, Boston, Charlotte, Dallas, Nashville, Phoenix, and San Francisco. The margin of error for the national quota is +/- 2.6 percent, and the margin of error for the oversampled markets is approximately +/- 5.8 percent, with each reported at a 95 percent confidence level.

Bank of America
Bank of America is one of the world’s leading financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 67 million consumer and small business clients with approximately 4,400 retail financial centers, including more than 1,700 lending centers, more than 1,900 Merrill Edge investment centers and more than 1,300 business centers; approximately 16,100 ATMs; and award-winning digital banking with approximately 36 million active users, including 25 million mobile users. Bank of America is a global leader in wealth management, corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 3 million small business owners through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations across the United States, its territories and more than 35 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

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Reporters May Contact:
Terry Francisco, Bank of America, 213.345.9024

Kris Yamamoto, Bank of America, 805.526.1910