Wednesday, June 9, 2010

BUYING & SELLING: Gen X Homebuyers are Trading Up, Not Trading Off

This post is the second in a series of three articles about generational home-buying preferences. Author, John Tarducci, discusses baby boomer, generation X and generation Y purchasing trends. Stay tuned for his last installment!

When it comes to Generation X, many of whom represent the current wave of new homebuyers, smart home builders and real estate professionals are thinking outside the box.
That’s because Gen X buyers – those born between 1965 and 1979 and who are now in their 30s and early 40s – comprise many of today’s “trade up” buyers. And they’re looking for homes that suit a lifestyle that’s very different than that of their baby boomer parents.

The Gen X population, estimated at 81 million strong, dwarfs the baby boomer generation, which numbers roughly 67 million Americans.

Numerous surveys, focus groups and studies reveal a number of Gen X characteristics that affect their home buying preferences. These include a growing environmental consciousness, a tendency to delay starting a family that’s due, in part, to challenging economic conditions, an increase in non-traditional households (where more people are living without a spouse or roommate) and an increase in single-parent households.

As a result, Gen X homebuyers…

Skip the formalities.

Gen X homebuyers aren’t impressed by designer kitchens, ostentatious entry foyers or amenities that shout “prestigious.” Gen X buyers want to live in a real home, not a show home, one that suits their lifestyle.

Want less square footage.

Because they’re putting parenthood on hold or are skipping it entirely, Gen X buyers are interested in a smaller “footprint,” but one where all living spaces are optimally designed for family usage, not individual use. So rather than a formal dining room or a spare bedroom that’s used a few times a year, they are more apt to fill that space with exercise equipment or a plasma TV.

Are smart, selective shoppers.

While delayed parenthood has led to a greater number of two-income households, Gen Xers are not delaying home ownership. Their idea of the perfect home may be smaller than mom and dad’s, but they still want the best amenities, comforts and convenience that money can buy.

Gravitate toward urban living.

Due to economic realities and a greater number of single buyers, more Gen X homebuyers prefer a small apartment or condo in an urban, not suburban, neighborhood.

Prefer media-savvy homes.

Gen X homebuyers grew up with laptops and web-surfing as a way of life. Gen Xers’ careers are important to them, and chances are, a fully wired home office will be, too.

Gen X Home Buyer
Seek out energy-efficient, low-maintenance living.

Gen Xers have a sincere interest in protecting the environment and conserving natural resources, “Green” homes are a natural offshoot of those beliefs.

Gen X homebuyer preferences are anything but predictable, but one thing’s for sure: they’re not walking in their parents’ footsteps! The most responsive home building professionals will adapt to their buyers’ changing needs as Gen Xers forge new pathways in the housing market.

By John Tarducci, CMP, CRB Senior Vice President on May 27, 2010 New Homes Division,

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