Millennials, the youth generation born after 1981, were hit hard by the Great Recession as employment opportunities fizzled, forcing many to move back home with their parents after college graduation. While their dismal prospects have given them a somewhat jaded outlook, a 2013 study by the Demand Institute suggests their outlook is more traditional in the long run, especially as employment prospects improve.
The following are two major findings from their study, Millennials and their Homes: Still Seeking the American Dream:
1: Millennials desire to own single-family homes
While the prevailing wisdom has assumed Millennials want to live in the city and rent, the study found a strong majority of Millennials have home ownership aspirations.
75% believe homeownership is an important long-term goal
24% already own their own home
60% plan to purchase their own home
Additionally, “the single-family home remains the ideal,” with 62% desiring this to be their next home type, whether they purchase (36%) or rent (26%). Lionel Knight, a Chicago-based marketing guru writing in Adweek, cautioned, “That doesn’t bode well for all those developers building downtown rental high-rises in cities across the country.”
2: Millennials want to live in the suburbs
Another finding that doesn’t bode well for urban developers is Millennials’ desire to live in the suburbs. According to the study, 48% of Millennials want their next home to be in the suburbs, compared with 38% desiring an urban setting and 14% preferring a rural setting. The Millennial suburb, however, is a bit different from their parents’ suburb. The study concludes that:
“Communities that can offer the best of urban living (e.g., convenience and walkability) with the best of suburban living (e.g., good schools and more space) will thrive in the coming decade.”
Make your home digitally smart
With these prospects in mind, we recommend that you prepare your home now for future resale to Millennial buyers. While there are a few major structural alterations to consider, like getting rid of your formal dining room and living room, our major recommendation is to make your home as digitally smart as possible. Home Smart Home magazine (Spring 2015) tells the story of two identical homes on the same street that went on the market at the same time, but the one that was digitally smart (or automated) sold much faster and for a higher price. Real estate agent, Ralph Fox, explains:
“People buy with emotion…. When you have a property that can connect emotionally with people from the outset, the likelihood that they’re going to convert to buyers significantly goes up…. [In an automated home] they can imagine themselves utilizing the functions…. Turning on all the lights, locking the door remotely…it really creates a unique experience.”
In addition to being more appealing for Millennial buyers, a digitally smart home is more enjoyable for you to live in until you decide to sell. As Ralph Fox reasons:
“People wait until they’re ready to sell a house to fix it up and make it really nice. I say, why don’t you just fix it up and live in it like that for three or four years and take the premium then?”