Fear of missing out—or FOMO, as millennials have coined it—has become a powerful motivator for young buyers to pursue homeownership, according to a new Bank of America survey. In particular, social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, where users often post about their lives as homeowners, are big influencers on prospective buyers, the survey of 2,000 U.S. adults finds. “I think it’s motivating them to think about homeownership,” says D. Steve Boland, BofA’s head of consumer lending. “Their interest level is high, and it’s driven by what they see.”
According to the survey, a third of millennials say that when viewing social media posts about homes their peers have purchased, they think: “If they can buy, why can’t I?” And a quarter of all consumers say they fear missing out on an opportunity for themselves to purchase when viewing others’ home photos on social media. Twenty-three percent of consumers—16 percent of whom are first-time buyers—say they are jealous of the homes bought by their friends and acquaintances.
Social media postings about homeownership can stir up emotions in consumers and motivate them to want to own themselves, Ethan Kross, a professor of social psychology at the University of Michigan, told USA Today. “If other people are doing better than we are, that can get us to feel bad,” Kross says. “It reminds us of what things could be like.”