Millennials Want Smaller Homes, Energy-Efficient Windows

January 26th, 2015 by Editor

When it comes to home buying, Millennials won’t skimp on anything—except size.

Such were the sentiments of panelists during an International Builders’ Show press conference on home trends and Millennials’ home preferences held last week.

As Millennials enter the home-buying market in larger numbers, residences will get a little smaller, laundry rooms will be essential and home-automation technology will become more prevalent, the panelists said.

Rose Quint, assistant vice president of research at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), predicted that the growing numbers of first-time buyers will drive down home size in 2015. Three million new jobs were created in 2014, 700,000 more than the previous year “and the most since 1999,” Quint said. At the same time, regulators have reduced down-payment requirements for first-time buyers from 5 percent to 3 percent, and home prices have seen only moderate growth.

“All these events lead me to believe that more people will come into the market, and as younger, first-time buyers, they will demand smaller, more affordable homes,” Quint said. “Builders will build whatever demand calls out for.”

Quint also unveiled the results of a survey asking home builders what features they are most likely to include in a typical new home this year.

Of the top 10 features mentioned by home builders, four have to do with energy efficiency: Low-E windows, Energy Star-rated appliances and windows, and programmable thermostats.

Panelist Jill Waage, editorial director for home content at Better Homes and Gardens, discussed Millennials’ emphasis on outdoor living and their seamless use of technology, and how those two trends play into the generation’s home-buying and home-renovation decisions.

Waage said because they generally don’t have as much ready cash—or free time—as older homeowners, Millennials seek less expensive, low-maintenance choices like a brightly painted front door.

They’re also very comfortable with their smartphones and tablets, and increasingly seek ways to control their homes’ functions—such as locking the doors—from their mobile device. “They want to use their brains for other things, not for remembering whether they adjusted the heat or closed the garage door,” Waage said.

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