We already knew that millennials had a rather unique relationship with real estate compared to generations past: Unlike those that came before them, the younger set has been refraining from buying homes in recent years due to lack of knowledge about financial options (at least according to a 2016 study from NerdWallet). Now, we鈥檝e gotten even more insight about the factors that are influencing them to take the plunge, courtesy of a new study from SunTrust Mortgage, and one of their top three cited reasons may surprise you.

Rather than being concerned with space for themselves or their growing families, SunTrust says that it鈥檚 actually pets that are convincing young homeowners to pull the trigger to buy. The company, who polled 412 adults between the ages of 18-36 (248 of which were first-time home owners), found that 33 percent, or roughly one third of participants, said that the desire to have better living quarters for their dogs influenced their decision to purchase. What鈥檚 more, 42 percent of those who hadn鈥檛 yet purchased property also had Fido in mind, citing their dog or a desire to have one, as a top decision-making factor.

These percentages put pet ownership above major life events including both marriage and the birth of a child, making it crystal clear that pets have a very heavy influence on their owners鈥 buying behaviors.

It was a fact that wasn鈥檛 too surprising to SunTrust Mortgage President and CEO Dorinda Smith, who noted, 鈥淢illennials have strong bonds with their dogs, so it makes sense that their furry family members are driving home-buying decisions.鈥 She added, 鈥淔or those with dogs, renting can be more expensive and a hassle. Home ownership takes some of the stress off by providing a better living situation.鈥

So how is this affecting the market overall? According to Smith, we鈥檙e seeing a shift from last year鈥檚 reports, which stated that more and more millennials were opting to rent over buy. 鈥淢illennials are trending toward home ownership,鈥 she said. 鈥淒emand among millennial-aged, first-time buyers is robust, and we expect them to continue adding strength to the housing market.鈥 Huh!

Sounds like our four-legged friends will soon have a lot more room to run around and we鈥檒l all soon be a whole lot cozier to boot 鈥 it鈥檚 a win-win!

Do your pets influence your living decisions? Let us know @BritandCo.

(h/t Hello Giggles; photos via Getty)