What Millennial Home Buyers Want in a Home and What Home Builders Can Do

What Millennials Want in a Home and What Builders Can Do

What millennial home buyers want in a home and what home builders can do

Millennials now make up the largest share of home buyers, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Knowing what millennial home buyers want in home builds can help builders capitalize on this huge and emerging market. Generally, millennial home buyers look for 3 things when considering a home.

  1. Affordability and space in their homes
  2. A feeling of community, like that found in urban areas
  3. Customization and personalization in their homes

Millennials want affordability and space in their homes

Thanks to the Great Recession and crushing student loan debt, many millennials value affordability in their homes. In fact, millennials so value affordability that they’re looking and buying in the suburbs, despite their desire to stay in the city. Additionally, millennials are willing to settle for smaller houses for the sake of affordability. As we dive into more details, this will be key for builders looking to understand what millennial home buyers want.

Along with affordability, millennials desire space in their homes. Specifically, they want big backyards and outdoor space, both for their pets and for multi-purpose hosting. Growing families also factor into millennials’ desire for space. Whether they want to have kids of their own or will take in older family members, family growth guides what millennials look for in a home.

Will millennials pay more for environmentally friendly homes?

Quite simply, no, they won’t. A common millennial stereotype is that they are the most environmentally conscious generation. While this may be true generally, it does not appear to affect their home-buying decisions. According to an NAHB study, while millennials would be willing to consider things like energy efficiency, purchasing a home strictly because it’s environmentally friendly isn’t something they’d be likely to do.

How can home builders provide affordability and space?

For affordability, developing and building in suburban areas can be a solution. It can split the difference between dueling desires of affordability and more space. And builders can breathe easier knowing that nearly half of millennial home buyers prefer the suburbs to the city in home buying.

For space, builders can focus on providing open floor plans. Millennial home buyers prefer homes that allow for better flow. The easier it is for themselves and guests to move seamlessly from one room to another—or even from inside to outside—the happier they tend to be. Millennial home buyers also prefer to have at least 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms in their homes.

Millennials want a feeling of community, like that found in urban areas

Millennial home buyers are unique in an aspect that should be welcoming to builders. They prefer to live in brand-new homes offered by builders over custom-built homes built on their own lots. This may be why they prefer new homes built in subdivisions or tracts. It’s also vastly different from previous generations of new-home buyers.

Note: While this trend is encouraging, the previously owned market is still about 5 times larger than the new-home market for millennial home buyers.

Though many millennial home buyers say that they’d prefer to live in urban areas, their buying habits betray this notion. This may imply that millennial home buyers like aspects of city living, such as walkability and public amenities like gyms and community centers, rather than urban life itself.

How can builders provide a feeling of community for millennial home buyers?

Designing subdivisions that are within walking distance to schools, coffee shops and the like is a great way to provide a sense of community. To enhance that experience, builders may consider developing areas near public transportation.

Millennials value customization and personalization in their homes

Although millennial home buyers generally want low-maintenance homes, they also want homes that they can customize and personalize. They like homes that combine traditional charm with modern, cutting-edge amenities. This may help explain why millennials are so drawn to open floor plans and multi-purpose layouts. When layouts are more open, it’s easier to customize and personalize.

How can home builders help millennial home buyers customize and personalize?

To appeal to their desire for traditional charm, builders can look to certain design styles. Pre-WWII colonials, mid-century-style homes (e.g., Frank Lloyd Wright designs) and Mediterranean designs are in vogue for millennials. Millennials also gravitate toward builds that include dedicated specialty rooms, like game rooms, exercise rooms and media rooms.

For modern amenities, millennials tend to focus on their kitchens and bathrooms. Here are some of their preferences.

Kitchen amenities millennials like

  • Stainless steel dishwashers
  • Sub-zero refrigerators
  • Built-in wine coolers and microwaves
  • Central islands with ranges
  • Exotic stone, granite or poured cement counters
  • Trash compactors
  • Window seats and built-in seating

Bathroom amenities millennials like

  • Dedicated dressing room/makeup room
  • His and hers baths
  • Whirlpool tubs

Millennial tastes will affect builders dramatically in the coming years. As builders work to build homes that they’ll buy, they should be mindful of their buyers’ wants. Affordability and low maintenance rank highly on that list. An industry-leading builders warranty from 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty (2-10 HBW) can put issues of cost and maintenance at ease for both your buyers and your company.

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