Phoenix’s Millennials are straying from the norm as they redefine life’s priorities, according to the latest Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report. Seventy-four percent of local millennials say owning a home is a top priority, tied with being able to retire (74 percent) and far outranking getting married (48 percent) and having children (51 percent). 

The report, which explores the attitudes, preferences, and behaviors of the modern homebuyer, also finds that many local millennials equate homeownership with personal (67 percent) and financial (54 percent) success. Prospective millennial buyers in Phoenix also associate purchasing a home with maturity (53 percent), adulthood (58 percent) and independence (43 percent).

Additional Phoenix-specific highlights from the report include:

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

• Local renters in Phoenix are torn on the “own vs. rent” debate, with 58 percent believing that renting long-term will be more expensive than buying a home. The other 42 percent say it will be just as or less expensive than owning.

Yet, 77 percent believe their rent will continue to rise every year or every other year. And 59 percent pay more than 30 percent of their income in rent each month.

When asked what they dislike about renting, Phoenicians (49 percent) are more likely than their national counterparts (43 percent) to say “not feeling like it’s truly home.” They’re also more likely to dislike rising rental costs (58 percent vs. 52 percent) and to feel like they’re throwing money away (59 percent vs. 49 percent).

Top renter misconceptions in Phoenix include:

• Thirty-nine percent believe that 20 percent down is required to buy a home

• Forty-five 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 Phoenix are being purposeful in their homebuying planning

Who: While 62 percent of first-time local buyers plan to buy with a spouse or partner, others are venturing out on their own, as 34 percent say they plan to purchase their first home solo.

What: When thinking about their first home, buyers in Phoenix prefer:

–  Starter home (50 percent) vs. a forever home (50 percent)

– A large backyard (54 percent) vs. more square footage (46 percent)

– A modern layout (64 percent) vs. a home with “good bones” (36 percent)

– Updated appliances (85 percent) vs. an updated exterior (15 percent)

Where: 53 percent are looking to stay in the Phoenix area, while 32 percent plan to buy elsewhere.

When: 48 percent of local residents plan to buy in the next two years, and 76 percent say saving for a down payment is a financial priority.

Why: Phoenicians say having enough money saved (62 percent) and a higher salary (44 percent) are their top motivations to buy for the first time.

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