This is the last in a series of 3 installments on generational home-buying preferences. Author, John Tarducci, discusses baby boomer, generation X and generation Y purchasing trends. Below is his piece on generation Y, the wave of the future in real estate trends.
When it comes to generational demographic shifts, the nation’s 75 million baby boomers have dominated the media spotlight for years. Baby boomers, move over, here come the Gen Y consumers. They’re young (ages 12 to 29), more than 80 million strong and they represent the next big wave of home buyers in America.
As a group, members of the Gen Y generation (born 1979 through 1996) embrace communications, media and digital technologies like email, texting and instant messaging – they’re the most connected generation in our history, and they give new meaning to the term “multi-tasker.” Their hobbies probably include social networking on Facebook or other social media outlets, they have a strong environmental consciousness and they place a high priority on work/life balance.
Many within the Gen Y group may be renting now, but they’ll be buying homes increasingly this year; a much larger buying wave will begin in 2012, according to a 2008 report by the Urban Land Institute. The #1 Gen Y choice of metro area? New York City.
Here are some interesting insights into Gen Y home buyer preferences and priorities.
Gen Y places a premium on walkable environments and convenience.
-77% of prospective Gen Y buyers plan to live in an urban core, although those living in the Northeast will still express a preference for inner suburb locations.
-One-third say they’ll pay more to walk to shops, work and entertainment.
--Two-thirds say that living in a pedestrian friendly, walkable community is important.
-More than half of Gen Y buyers would trade a bigger lot for proximity to shopping or work; even among families with children, one-third or more would a trade a larger lot for a walkable community.
-Nearly half of Gen Y buyers would choose a “less than ideal” home if they could walk to work.
-Even in the suburbs, most Gen Y buyers prefer features common to urban areas, especially walkable environments.
-70% don’t feel they must move to the suburbs once they have children.
-Only half say they’ll need a single-family home to raise a family.
-Gen Y has an environmental consciousness.
More than half say that a “green” home and/or community will significantly impact their home buying decision.
Gen Y wants lots of choices, and they will be selective.
The more personalization and customization, the better. Brand names will have less importance. Gen Y members expect a wide selection of housing types and styles to choose from, though smartly designed spaces will trump size and affordability will remain key.
Gen Y buyers will also make housing choices based on the community, and they’ll choose a community that reflects their lifestyle. . Asked to name the most desirable community features, Gen Y buyers listed the following as their top hometown amenities:
Restaurant or café
Main street village
This is an exciting time in the real estate marketplace. The evolving concerns, priorities and attitudes of America’s youngest generation promise to reinforce current trends and drive new ones emphasizing greater economy, smarter design and unprecedented innovation.