Two years ago, when he was 26, Matt Winter paid a little over $1 million for a four-bedroom, Mediterranean-style house in Culver City, an artsy, formerly industrial section of Los Angeles. This month, the now 28-year-old Mr. Winter, who runs his own interior design firm, paid about $1.7 million for his second home, a three-bedroom, Spanish-revival in Westwood, a neighborhood near UCLA.
A new generation is skipping the “starter home” and betting heavily on high-end real estate. Lauren Schuker Blum reports on Lunch Break. Photo: Alexia Fodere for The Wall Street Journal.
“I have always felt that having your money in property is the safest and best thing to do if you want to grow your personal wealth,” says Mr. Winter, who founded his design company at 23. None of Mr. Winter’s assets are in the stock market—he says the market “spooks him” and that he prefers to invest in real estate.
Mr. Winter is part of a growing group of wealthy young buyers who are making inroads in the world of high-end real estate, acquiring properties at prices, and at a pace, that brokers say they have never seen before. Real-estate agents say that young people are buying more expensive homes than previously. They are also more likely to buy several properties, and use one as an investment. Buying real estate has grown more attractive, these young buyers say, compared with the stock market, which appears riskier to a generation that entered the workforce during a market correction.
In recent years, low interest rates coupled with lower real-estate prices had also made it easier for people in their 20s and early 30s—whom demographers refer to as “Generation Y” or “millennials”—to buy.
“In the last two months, half the folks I sold homes to were young entrepreneurial types—and they were all buying homes for over a million dollars,” says Michael Rankin, a managing partner at TTR Sotheby’s International Realty in Washington, D.C. “A few years ago, that kind of buyer was invisible. We had young folks buying starter condos for a few hundred thousand dollars. But this new wave is skipping that step entirely and going right for the high-end home.”