Millennials: The Emerging Homeowners

Sometimes portrayed as lazy and entitled, the mollycoddled children of the Baby Boomers, Millennials have gotten a bad rap. What with the downturn of the economy as many were coming into their own, it is no wonder that Millennials were hesitant to make major life decisions on the same timeline as generations before. Buying a home soon after graduation and starting out in the professional sphere just wasn’t feasible. Times are changing, though, and it seems like now is the perfect time for the first wave of Millennials, in their early 30’s, to step up and become homeowners.

This is far from the picture painted by pessimistic economists. Rather than continuing to limit expenses by living with parents or apartments full of friends, Millennials want to enter adulthood just like the older generations. It’s true that many are still unable or unwilling to make such a huge investment, but the Millennial Generation is large and diverse and actually makes up just shy of a third of current homebuyers. This is a huge percentage of consumers that cannot be ignored, especially considering that they are looking to raise families and that, with interest rates so low and the cost of rent so high, they are more likely to build or buy now more than ever before.

Now that they are building and buying, the question becomes how to market to Millennials. Technologically, of course. But a house is a physical structure in the end, and knowing what consumers want is the best way to sell real estate. Here is what Millennials are looking for as they become homebuyers.

This contemporary open floor plan features a gourmet kitchen, large spacious living/dining room and home office, perfect for Millennials.

Quality over Quantity

In the past, people were prodded to buy as much house as they could afford. Millennials, some still shell-shocked by the market crash and years of spending carefully, are more likely to prioritize features over square footage. A luxury home can come in a smaller, more affordable package that causes less financial stress and requires less maintenance—a winning combination for sure. Houses with nice fixtures, appliances, and carefully designed floor plans that use less space without feeling cramped are likely to be in high demand.

Open Spaces

This is a trend that many before have wanted, so the trail has been blazed for Millennials already. An open floor plan is attractive to this very social generation, because the likelihood of hosting guests is high. In addition, today’s younger people are a lot more relaxed than the older crowd. With hip, laidback office lives and always being connected through phones and computers, it goes without saying that homebuyers among the Millennials have no real desire for a formal dining room and the hard division of their space by walls.

This brand new craftsman house plan features a large kitchen perfect for entertaining and open to the living area. A cozy dining area for weekly dinners adds to the functionality of this home.

A Hosting Kitchen

Growing up with cooking shows on multiple channels and more nutrition education than their predecessors, Millennials are quintessential foodies. It should come as no surprise, then, that a kitchen with room to move and entertain guests is in high demand. A group of friends will want to be able to help out and then pick around offerings lined up on countertops. An island should be included in the design to accommodate a spread of hors d’oeuvres and to provide a place to gather without the perceived formality of a proper dining table. In many ways, the lines between kitchen and living room have blurred, so it is definitely a bonus if a floor plan is open between these rooms to create more of a great room.

A Home Office

The constant connection that defines Millennials is a force that permeates to every part of life. Younger professionals are likely to either work from home or do a lot of their work from home after hours, so it is imperative that they have a place to focus. A house that has a space that can be fashioned into an office is mandatory for many. Make mention of an office option for a house that has a bonus room or an extra bedroom and buyers will be sure to notice.

This eco-friendly house plan features 3 bedrooms, 3 baths and a 2-car garage. All rooms have access to an outdoor deck.


The perfect home to a Millennial is an eco-friendly one. This means energy-efficient appliances, insulation suited to the climate, and a carefully planned design that doesn’t create waste. Being able to open windows to create airflow that reaches the entire interior is important to help keep cooling costs down. Big, showy vaulted ceilings that suck up heat are not as attractive to Millennials as they were to older generations. A compact and functional design is of utmost importance.

Location and Practical Concerns

It’s no surprise that a good neighborhood is important to people as they look to become parents. Proximity to schools and shopping centers is still important, but money-savvy, environmentally-conscious Millennials are also likely to ask for public transportation for their commutes. A home in a highly walkable location with a bus stop or train station nearby is definitely going to stir a lot of interest.

Being able to connect with the community is a common thread, so technological issues must also be considered. A house that has bad cell phone service is likely to be overlooked. Similarly, a house that tends to block Wi-Fi signals will not impress a Millennial homebuyer. While compromise is all a part of the process, most will not agree to technological isolation.

Millennials are less concerned with what they have than what they can do. So long as they are offered highly functional homes within their budgets, they are going to be enthusiastic homebuyers.

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