High-Income Millennials Use their Buying Power on Luxury Homes

    Millennials Dan and Diana Stoltzfus, the owners of a nearly $1 million mansion in Great Falls, Va., are among a small but growing number of young people in the Washington region who have the means to buy a luxury home.

    “We owned a condo in Glover Park and wanted to buy a house so we could start a family,” said Diana Stoltzfus. “Everything we found in the city was small and would need renovation or an addition, so we started looking at Potomac and Great Falls for something that would fit in our budget of around $900,000. The house we found in Great Falls was originally priced at $1.1 million, but it had been on the market for almost a year, so we were able to buy it for just under $1 million.”

    A surprisingly high number of millennials around the country and in the Washington region earn a high enough income to afford a $1 million residence. According to research by Zillow, Arlington has more millennials with a household income of $350,000 or more than any other jurisdiction in the country, with 8.7 percent of millennials among that wealthy cohort.

    The District is also on the list, tied at eighth place with New York City, both places where 2.8 percent of millennials have a household income of $350,000 or more.

    “There are lots of dual-income young couples in the D.C. area with high levels of education and good jobs who together can afford a luxury home,” said Jeff Detwiler, president and chief operating officer of Long & Foster Real Estate in Chantilly.

    Stoltzfus works at an accounting firm, where she met her husband, Dan, who now is head of finance at Fundation Group, a small-business lender.

    “Most of the millennials we see who have the money to buy a $1 million home are households with two lawyers,” said Daryl Judy, an associate broker with Washington Fine Properties. “Some also work for tech companies or are associated with bio-tech research. A surprising number of people in their early 30s that we’ve worked with are taking over their parents’ businesses.”

    “The places where the luxury market is strongest, such as the Pacific Northwest, San Francisco and New York City, have a lot of buyers with money from the tech industry,” said Dan Conn, chief executive of Christie’s International Real Estate in New York City. “The market is a little softer in Miami because of reduced demand from foreign buyers, but even that market is still okay.”

    Conn said that in New York City, competition is particularly heated in the “affordable luxury”-category condos because inventory is low in that range.

    Most millennial luxury buyers in New York are more likely to be on the lower end of the luxury market there, which Christie’s defines as homes priced from $3 million.

    Steinberg said his company sees a strong wave of wealthy millennials buying property in large cities, particularly places known as tech hubs.

    “These are well-educated, tech-savvy buyers who do a lot of research and know what they want,” he said.

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