What would you do for a free home? (survey)

What would you do for a free home? (survey)

Key takeaways:

  • 89% were willing to give up a life goal for a free single-family home in their desired location
  • Gen Z were 44% more likely than millennials to give up having children
  • Millennials were 52% more likely than Gen Z to be willing to go to space for a free home
  • 65% of millennials and Gen Zers would give up social media for a year for a free home

Millennials and Gen Zers are so desperate for homeownership 43% would give up their smartphones forever

The only thing harder than keeping up with today's housing market is actually being in said market. Real estate prices have skyrocketed since the outbreak of the pandemic. A low supply of new construction and high demand for housing caused a mad rush in real estate that still shows no signs of stopping. Many Americans, especially first-time homebuyers, got left behind as it quickly became a strong and competitive seller's market.

So, how desperate are first-time homebuyers, or more specifically, millennials and Gen Zers? The team at Cinch Home Services surveyed more than 1,000 people within this exact demographic to explore the lengths they would go for a free single-family home. Would they be willing to live without technology? Keep reading to see for yourselves.

Trading love and dreams for land

Money can't buy you love, but evidently, it can't buy homes either. To kick things off, we began our study by looking into the romantic relationships and life goals people would sacrifice today for the chance to own a single-family home, completely free of charge.

Forgone aspirations and love lost

Romantic relationships were readily forgotten in the name of a free home. Nearly a third of respondents were willing to break up with their current significant other and be single for the rest of their lives. More than half said they would even uncover a secret they had been diligently hiding from their partners.

While millennials and Gen Zers reported that their top life goal is to start a business, this was also the dream most respondents were willing to forgo for homeownership. It's worth mentioning that business investments can produce the returns required for even today's historically high home prices.

Another life goal respondents were willing to give up was the opportunity to start a family by having children (20%). Gen Z were 44% more likely than millennials to do so. However their bonds were so strong with their furry children that they would be more willing to never see their siblings (37%), children (35%), and grandparents (34%) again over their pets (32%). Many younger generations are choosing not to have their own human children due to the increasing costs of starting a family.

Work, life and political sacrifices for a free house

Beyond romantic relationships, it quickly became evident that most respondents were willing to do many things to attain a free home. Next up are the lifestyle changes, work sacrifices and political requests people would fulfill in exchange for the free piece of real estate.

A sacrificial gift

In addition to putting aside goals like starting a business, 38% were willing to give up their dream job. Respondents were also eager to work in unfavorable conditions such as a 60-hour workweek or for a boss they highly disliked.

Concerning lifestyle sacrifices, people were most willing to change their alcohol and food consumption habits. Forty-two percent of this demographic said they would never set foot in a nightclub again if given a free home. Some individuals might think it's not a big deal to never go to a club or bar again, but these places are important to many younger Americans for socialization and fun.

The most recent U.S. voter turnout showcased a highly politicized Gen Z. This generation will also have more voting power in elections to come. But political sacrifices were some of the most easily made for a free home. More than half said they would change their voter registration, while 45% would elect a senator they strongly opposed.

Historically, the uncertainty during times leading up to presidential elections has made real estate markets more uncertain. According to managing broker Matt Laricy, this happens "simply because people fear change."

Technically willing to give up

Younger generations are the first and only digitally-native generations, meaning they've grown up online. But were they willing to give up some aspects of their life online if it meant they could have a place to call home?

You'd do what?

Sixty-five percent of Gen Z and millennials said they would give up social media for a year to attain a free, single-family home. This sacrifice may ultimately be more freeing than restrictive since psychologists estimate as many as 10% of Americans have a social media addiction. Respondents were also willing to give up other addictive online tendencies like video games (50%) and smartphones (43%) to become homeowners at no cost in this real estate market.

Many even considered a year of life without video and music streaming services. Almost 6 in 10 young people would go without Spotify, while about 7 in 10 were willing to quit using Apple and Amazon Music. More than half said they would say goodbye to their Netflix and Disney+ subscriptions.

People are already canceling Netflix subscriptions, even without a free home in exchange. Netflix recently reported a loss of subscribers for the first time in a decade. But people were willing to go much further and much weirder than that.

Crazy things younger Americans would do for a free home

Gen Z, at one point, was characterized by its willingness to eat Tide Pods. Now, 30% of Gen Z and millennials would be willing to eat a cockroach or even lick the rim of a public toilet (24%) if someone gave them a free home after the deed. Ironically, many would leave this planet to return to a piece of free real estate: 34% said they would go to space. But with one trip to space currently costing as much as $55 million, this action seems counterintuitive.

However, the most common consideration was selling gametes. While these two processes vary greatly, women were more likely to consider selling their eggs than men were to sell their sperm. Egg donations are more difficult medically yet often yield higher payouts, averaging around $10,000 per egg for first-time donors. Much of this age group has already demonstrated a lower propensity to have or want children of their own, so this may explain why 46% are willing to part with reproductive means for free housing and the opportunity to help others start a family.

Keeping the dream home alive

Younger generations, who have been quite excluded from typical home buying opportunities recently, are ready to give up many things to own a free, single-family home. Many would break up with their partners or sacrifice a dream business for a piece of real estate. Political affiliations, even social media, were all ready to be sacrificed in the name of a home. Having a home is clearly a dream for many today. What would you give up for your dream home?


Cinch Home Services surveyed 1,024 Gen Z and millennial respondents to determine what they would be willing to do for a free single-family home in their desired location. Respondents ranged in age from 18 to 41. By generation, 26% were Gen Z, and 74% were millennials. By gender, 56% were female, 43% were male and 1% identified as gender non-conforming or non-binary. As for political parties, 50% were Democrat, 26% Republican, 18% Independent, 5% unaffiliated and 1% Green.

This sample size contained a margin of error of +/-3% with a 95% confidence level. To help ensure accurate data, all respondents were required to identify and correctly answer a decoyed attention check question. Survey data has certain limitations related to self-reporting.

About Cinch Home Services

With 40+ years of experience and plans available in America's 48 contiguous states, Cinch Home Services provides affordable, effective and reliable home warranty plans.

Fair use statement

Evidently, people really want a home today, and since many can't afford one, they'll do whatever it takes. If you think these findings would resonate with your audience, you're welcome to share the research. Just be sure your purposes are noncommercial and that you link back to this page as a credit for our work.

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