Home Desires by Generation
Lifestyles of people and families have changed throughout the generations. For instance, in the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s, families were larger and entertaining in the home was also very formal. Both formal living rooms and dining rooms were all the rage. Kitchens were hidden from view and not the focal point of family gatherings. In today’s modern world, this has changed as family sizes are smaller and most people no longer want or need rarely used formal spaces. Buyers have come to realize these heated and air conditioned rarely used rooms are money pits. Instead, this extra money could be used for upgraded features that most people are craving.
…People spend most of their time in a few specific areas of the home.
Single-family home square footage is one consideration and once a ballpark size has been decided, it’s time to evaluate floor plans. It’s all about how floor plans flow and work for your lifestyle. Open floor plans are the current trend and do not appear to be fading anytime soon.
Studies were done at UCLA that show how much traffic rooms actually get in today’s modern age. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-the-american-dream-of-owning-a-big-home-is-way-overrated-in-one-chart-2018-05-21. The results of this study were eye opening. Most square footage of formal rooms was rarely used and essentially wasted. People almost exclusively gather around the heart of the home which, today, is the combo Kitchen and Entertainment room.
While the generalization regarding square footage and open floor plans are accepted, there is no one size fits all. Needs by generation is talked about and written about quite frequently. Considerations should be made for the needs of Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers. Each group has very specific needs.
Millennials are those aged 18-35 today. They are a research driven generation supported by the internet. At the top of Millennials list of must haves are updated kitchens and baths with high quality appliances and fixtures. Energy conservation, green features and open floor plans are on their top list of wants. Most prefer purchasing a new house and avoid the maintenance needed on older homes. Millennials are busy with healthy lifestyles and wellbeing. They love walkable communities to help stay active. Many Millennials are currently single but still plan to be married and have children within the next five years so the number of bedrooms desired can be a consideration in a home they intend to stay in long term.
Baby Boomers precede Generation X. This group is thought to have been born between 1946-1964. Boomers are associated with privilege and wealth. Only 50% of this generation would consider living in an age restricted community. Single-family detached homes with one story or a first floor master bedroom is the top must have. New, forward looking designed homes with covered outdoor living space and ample storage for possessions is desired. They are downsizing from the large homes where they raised their families. They want a smaller footprint with less square footage but want quality features such as gourmet kitchens and spa master baths in communities which offer amenities to be enjoyed in their retirement years.
Generation X or GenX, are those born in the mid 1960s to early 1980s. GenXers are bookended by two much larger generations – Baby Boomers and Millennials. They are stuck in the middle of two noisy behemoths. They are savvy, skeptical and self reliant. Their home desires are somewhat similar to their parents in that they want a home to be family friendly and have an emphasis on organization. They have a different priority regarding entertaining and decorating. GenXers hate formality in their homes and gravitate toward expansive open concept floor plans. Accommodating children in their homes is not a top priority. They don’t worry about putting down roots and want a social hub where technology is king. They love contemporary design and embrace color. They want efficient homes with no yards and low maintenance.
Upon evaluating all three major generations who are currently in the home buying market, some similarities emerged. First, all desire less square footage than what is available in much of the older stock homes and communities. Second, there is little desire for formal rooms such as formal living rooms and dining rooms. And last, open concept floor plans are desired by all.