While age demographics are still a driving factor in the type of home your buyer is interested in, and three presenters at the International Builders’ Show Wednesday said there is a tie that binds – today, less is more.
Saying goodbye to McMansions, Mary Dewalt of Mary Dewalt Design Group, Steve Lane of Denver-based KEPHART, and Ken Perlman of Sullivan Group Real Estate Advisors outlined the driving demand behind each generation and what features they want in their downsized home in the session “From Wow to Now: What Today’s Home Buyers Really Want.”
Baby Boomers (age 45-65):
They don’t see themselves as getting older, and they don’t want to compromise their active lifestyles. About 83 percent plan to work past retirement, and more than half of those are interested in starting a new career or business. This age demographic wants start-of-the-art… and low-maintenance everything! They are design savvy and look at catalogs such as Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, and Restoration Hardware. “They are really looking at their homes as a sanctuary,” said Dewalt. Downsizing is appealing to them, but Baby Boomers still want elements such as pet spaces and areas for memorabilia. Amenities, details, and outdoor spaces are also at the top of their lists.
Gen X (age 30-45):
Fueling the first-time buyer and move-up market, Gen Xers love social spaces. Most are willing to give up square footage for location. This generation has also waited longer to have children, and once they do have a family, the emphasis is being on “super-parent.” They are goal-oriented, career-oriented and often they are more attracted to minimalism than Boomers. But they still want amenities. A neighborhood’s walkability is huge for Gen Xers, as is community, outdoor space, sustainable elements, and kids’ spaces. They look at catalogs from IKEA, Pottery Barn and Chiasso.
Gen Y (age 11-30):
Don’t rule out Gen Y, they are taking over the pool of first-time buyers. And location, location, location is the name of their game. Seeking to eliminate their long commutes, Gen Y will give up living space for their community of choice – often urban areas and near public transportation. Think high-density and low-maintenance, said Lane, especially surrounding universities and high-tech business centers. They look at blogs for design tips, as well as catalogs from IKEA, Anthropologie, and Dwell. They are connected, social, and embrace green on a larger scale than Gen X and Boomers. These money-savvy buyers believe energy efficiencies will provide them with a greater return on their home investment in the long run.